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Shortly after the body of a nationally recognized hairstylist Bashar Kallabat was found at the Detroit JZ Motel and Suites last week, a 24-year-old Detroit man named Jimmy Jermaine Pickett was charged with first-degree felony murder. The penalty for this charge is life in prison without parole. Kallabat, 56, died from blunt force trauma he sustained to the head.
Pickett was on probation for unarmed robbery and has a previous charge for resisting/obstructing/assaulting a police officer. He will remain in police custody as he awaits trial. Detroit Police believe that the two men met on a dating app.
Detroit Police Chief James Craig said at a press conference that it was a Project Green Light Business that helped identify the suspect.
“Based on the Green Light footage that our detectives immediately acquired, we could see the suspect. He was wearing a very distinctive security guard uniform or jacket. That suspect … we were able to track back to the rideshare company,” Craig said. “And a 12-hour investigation led us to where the suspect was located within 12 hours of this heinous crime.”
Project Green Light provides real-time camera connections with Detroit businesses and police headquarters. Craig added that because of the limited information about the crime, it might have been a “whodunit” without the Project’s help.
“What we know is that the victim proceeded to the JZ Motel on the east side of Detroit. We believe, we’re not certain, that he made contact with the suspect possibly through a dating app. We’re not certain on that, but just based on what we know about this case. We also know that the suspect traveled by rideshare company, and that rideshare was paid for by the victim in this case,” Craig said. “… Once at the location, we believe the suspect stayed for several hours, and it was hotel staff that checked the room and learned and found the deceased — Mr. Kallabat.”
Kallabat was a hairstylist who was renowned for his work not only locally but nationally.
“In fact, he’s revered by many, loved by many, and so, again, our hearts and prayers go out to the family of this victim,” Craig said. “… He was written up in Vogue Magazine, Allure and Harper’s [Bazaar].”
Craig also urged the public to use care when meeting people from dating apps.
“… In this instance, as you can see, if the victim is requesting and paying for the rideshare, there’s no way for us to know in the case of a crime, who the suspect is. So what we’re suggesting is: don’t do it. Certainly, if you are meeting someone through a dating app — as was reported in an FBI story — one, you meet in public. Secondly, you let someone know where you’re going,” he said. “There have been too many cases recently, locally and across this country, where there’s been very violent crimes associated with the use of dating apps. Again, we’re not saying in this case, but we have a strong belief that that happened.”