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Press Release

Brooklyn Man Sentenced to Life in Prison in First Prosecution of Federal Statute Criminalizing Murder in the Course of Sex Trafficking

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of New York
Defendant Beat and Tortured Women and Girls and Forced Them Into Prostitution

Earlier today, in federal court in Brooklyn, Somorie Moses, also known as “Somorie Barfield,” “Sugar Bear,” “Bear” and “Daddy,” was sentenced by United States District Judge Carol Bagley Amon to 10 terms of life imprisonment to run concurrently for each of the 10 counts of conviction for sex trafficking eight women and for committing the January 2017 murder of one of the women, Leondra Foster.  At the sentencing hearing, the Court heard victim impact statements from several of the defendant’s victims.  This prosecution is the first use of the federal statute criminalizing murder in the course of sex trafficking. Moses pleaded guilty to the charges in September 2023.

Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, James Smith, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), and Edward A. Caban, Commissioner, New York City Police Department (NYPD), announced the sentence.

“The life sentence imposed today on Somorie Moses is significant because it reflects the brutality and utter depravity of his crimes against vulnerable women and girls, which were committed over nearly two decades,” stated United States Attorney Breon Peace.  “The defendant forced his victims into prostitution through violence and beatings, and then murdered and dismembered Leondra Foster.  A lengthy prison sentence cannot undo the extreme and lasting harm Moses has inflicted on his victims, but incarceration will prevent this killer who clearly has no respect for human life from victimizing others.  It is my hope that today’s sentence brings some closure to the victims and their families.” 

Mr. Peace also expressed his appreciation to the Kings County District Attorney’s Office for their assistance in this investigation and prosecution.

“Today’s sentence reaffirms the commitment of the NYPD and our law enforcement partners to protect and support all the victims and survivors of sex trafficking, one of our society’s most exploitative and dehumanizing crimes,” stated NYPD Commissioner Caban.  “The defendant’s numerous offenses, including the heinous murder of Leondra Foster, were truly despicable. I thank the NYPD and FBI investigators for their dedication, and I commend everyone at the U.S. Attorney’s office for their tireless efforts to secure this meaningful prison term.”

Since at least 2003, Moses lured women and girls with false promises of love, but then used threats, violence, and psychological manipulation to force his victims into prostitution for his benefit.  Moses kept all the money his victims earned as prostitutes and required many of his victims to have his first name, “Somorie,” tattooed on their bodies. 

Moses used brutal beatings, rape, torture, and threats to coerce his victims to work in prostitution in Brooklyn and Queens.  Moses threatened to throw one victim, identified at the sentencing proceeding as Jane Doe #1, off a roof and raped her, and bit off a piece of her buttocks and spit it at her.  As to another victim, identified as Jane Doe #2, Moses slashed her arms and back with a razor and beat her with a belt before pouring lemon juice on her wounds, leaving her with extensive scarring over much of her body, including her arms, head, legs and back.  When a victim identified as Jane Doe #6 did not give Moses money as he demanded, Moses beat her with an extension cord, leaving her with numerous open, bleeding cuts, and told her that he “was a pimp, this is what [he] did.”  When a victim identified as Jane Doe #7 told Moses she did not want to work as a prostitute, he put a shotgun in her mouth and threatened to kill her and her child.

The Murder of Leondra Foster

In the early morning of January 13, 2017, Moses murdered Leondra Foster, one of his sex trafficking victims, by beating her until she died.  The defendant beat Foster all over her body, leaving bruises and abrasions on the front and back of her torso.  Moses inflicted at least five blunt force injuries to Foster’s head, either by hitting her directly or by banging her head into another surface.  The fatal blow was the blow to the back left of her head. She had been alive for all of the other injuries, but that last blow to her head fractured her skull, rendering her unconscious. Foster suffered a a seizure and died within minutes. The following morning, using a knife and a saw, Moses dismembered Foster’s body inside their shared apartment in Brooklyn.  Moses brought another woman back to his apartment for a sexual encounter while Foster’s dismembered body was concealed in it.  The woman later told law enforcement that there was a strong odor of bleach in the apartment.  Four days later, on the morning of January 17, 2017, Moses transported Foster’s torso and limbs to the Bronx for disposal at a garbage transfer station.  After disposing of most of Foster’s body parts, Moses texted another victim that he was on his way home from the Bronx and, “Just did 110 over the Brooklyn bridge.” Foster’s head, hands and feet — including a foot with the name “Somorie” tattooed on it — were subsequently recovered by law enforcement inside the freezer of Moses’s apartment.  Foster was 32-years-old at the time of her murder.

The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Civil Rights Section.  Assistant United States Attorneys Jonathan Siegel and Tanya Hajjar are in charge of the prosecution, with the assistance of Paralegal Specialist Anna November.

The Defendant:

SOMORIE MOSES (also known as “Somorie Barfield,” “Sugar Bear,” “Bear” and “Daddy”)
Age:  48
Brooklyn, New York

E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 22-CR-232 (CBA)


John Marzulli                                         
Danielle Blustein Hass
United States Attorney’s Office
(718) 254-6323

Updated April 5, 2024

Human Trafficking
Violent Crime