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Ex-suspect in rapper’s 2005 killing now accused of sex trafficking

A man who had a murder charge against him dismissed in a lethal Las Vegas rapper feud is now facing charges of human trafficking in the valley.

Online court records show that Rontu Ary Elam, 41, is charged with sex trafficking, coercion, domestic battery by strangulation and domestic battery with substantial bodily harm. The charges stem from two October 2019 matters investigated by the Southern Nevada Human Trafficking Task Force.

In one, a security officer at the Wild Wild West casino on West Tropicana Avenue reported encountering a screaming woman, dressed only in her underwear, who said she was beaten by a man she identified as her “pimp.”

“She was punched in the mouth and thrown out of a maroon 4-door Lincoln sedan,” an arrest report for Elam states. “(She) said she was hit by her pimp and thrown from the vehicle because she was not doing what she was supposed to.”

The woman told police Elam also was her boyfriend, and that he had punched her in the face before she was thrown out of the car, causing her to hit her head and lose consciousness.

“(She) also said Elam was her pimp and had been sex trafficking her since April 2019,” the arrest report states.

Las Vegas police contended in the arrest report that they linked Elam to the assault through a phone number listed on pawn shop receipts filled out by Elam in 2015 and 2018.

Also in October 2019, Elam is accused of strangling and beating a woman identified as his girlfriend. Police responded to an unspecified residence in the valley and found a woman with her “left eye bruised and swollen.” They also noted that her left front tooth was missing.

“Elam struck her numerous times all over her body, placed his hands around her neck which restricted her breathing to the point of losing consciousness,” police wrote.

The woman had several prior arrests for prostitution. She indicated she did not want to cooperate with police because “she was afraid Elam would kill her and that police would be unable to keep her safe.”

This is not Elam’s first brush with the law. He was arrested in the June 2005 slaying of Rapper Roosevelt “Mr. Looks” Hines, 30, who was shot to death outside a music studio. Another man, Thomas Richardson, was shot and wounded in that case.

Richardson identified Elam as the shooter, according to Las Vegas Review-Journal archives, and testified in front of a grand jury, but then disappeared as authorities were attempting to prosecute the case in Clark County District Court. All charges against Elam were dismissed in 2007.

A prosecutor at the time said a material witness warrant had been issued for Richardson, and relatives of the man said he was afraid to testify. He was the only witness in the case.

Richardson said he had been friends with Hines for several years. They were in a rap group and often rehearsed at Dunjun Studio on Western Avenue near Sahara Avenue. He said he and Hines were shot outside the studio.

In the sex trafficking case, online Justice Court records indicate that Elam is out of custody after posting a surety bond. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for April 30. His attorney, William Terry, could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday morning.

Contact Glenn Puit at gpuit@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0390. Follow @GlennatRJ on Twitter.

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