Jimmy Jermaine Pickett, 24, was formally charged Friday with first-degree murder in the case. He’s accused of brutally murdering celebrity hairstylist Bashar Kallabat, 56, of Bloomfield Hills.
Pickett is on probation for unarmed robbery and also has a previous resisting/obstructing/assaulting a police officer charge, prosecutors said.
On Tuesday night, Kallabat checked into the JZ Motel on Eight Mile Road near Gratiot Avenue on Detriot’s east side. Police said he likely arranged a meeting with Pickett by using a dating app.
Kallabat also paid for Pickett’s Lyft ride to the motel, according to authorities.
The JZ Motel is a Project Green Light business, so police got a clear look at Pickett in his security guard jacket. About 12 hours later, police arrested him at his security job.
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 below.
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.
“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.
Cameras captured video of Pickett leaving Kallabat’s room around 9 p.m. Tuesday, according to officials. Detroit police said they took Pickett into custody around 9:40 a.m. Wednesday.
Pickett’s defense team said 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.
“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.”
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.