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Man charged with murdering popular hairstylist Bashar Kallabat at Detroit motel

Jimmy Pickett charged in murder of Bashar Kallabat


DETROIT – The man suspected of killing a popular hairstylist inside a Detroit motel was arraigned Friday on a murder charge.

Police arrested Jimmy Jermaine Pickett, 24, of Detroit, in connection with the murder of Bashar Kallabat, who was found dead Tuesday at the JZ Motel and Suites on Eight Mile Road near Gratiot Avenue on Detroit’s east side.

Jimmy Jermaine Pickett
Jimmy Jermaine Pickett (WDIV)

Pickett was arraigned at 2:30 p.m. Friday at 36th District Court on a first-degree felony murder charge. A not guilty plea was entered on his behalf, and he was remanded to the Wayne County Jail.

You can watch the full arraignment above.

Kallabat, 56, of Bloomfield Hills, was a beloved hairdresser in Metro Detroit. Detroit police Chief James Craig said Kallabat was nationally known for his work.

Bashar Kallabat
Bashar Kallabat (WDIV)

Police said Kallabat checked into the motel around 6 p.m. Tuesday. Pickett used a ride-share company to get to the motel, police said. His ride was paid for by Kallabat, according to authorities.

“We believe that the victim and suspect didn’t know each other," Craig said.

Pickett stayed at the motel for several hours after being dropped off. Officials said he went into Kallabat’s room, killed him, took his personal property and left the motel.

The manager of the motel said he got a call from an employee that something was wrong. Members of the motel staff found Kallabat’s body, Craig said. It was determined he was killed by blunt force trauma to his head.

Police believe the two men met on a dating app.

The motel is a Project Green Light partner, and cameras captured video of Pickett leaving Kallabat’s room around 9 p.m. Tuesday, according to officials. Pickett was wearing a very distinctive security guard jacket, and police were able to track and locate him within 12 hours of Kallabat’s death, police said.

Detroit police said they took Pickett into custody around 9:40 a.m. Wednesday. He is on probation for unarmed robbery and also has a previous resisting/obstructing/assaulting a police officer charge, prosecutors said.

Pickett’s defense team said he is a security guard for Crain Communications. He has two daughters -- ages 4 and 7, his defense said.

Pickett faces a maximum penalty of life in prison without parole. A probable cause conference is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Feb. 28, and a preliminary examination is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. March 6.

Bashar Kallabat
Bashar Kallabat (WDIV)

“We want all to know he was so loved, impacted so many lives and was such a successful stylist and creative soul," his ex-wife, Kennice Kallabat, said in a statement. "We just can’t believe he is gone.”

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Detroit police at 313-596-2460 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-SPEAK-UP to remain anonymous.

Craig said there are dangers associated with ride-share companies. He said police have no way to track suspects through their rides if the payment comes from someone else. He warned residents not to pay for a stranger’s ride share and advised meeting in a public place and telling someone the location beforehand.

You can watch Craig’s full news conference below.

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