Seattle cops: Woman makes harrowing escape from vicious pimp

Nov 11, 2022, 2:55 PM | Updated: Nov 12, 2022, 9:47 am

SEATTLE (AP) — A young woman made two harrowing attempts to escape her vicious pimp — including jumping out a third-story window — before being rescued by a ride-share driver who engaged in a gunfight with the man, prosecutors in Seattle said.

Winston Burt, 30, who uses the street name “Dice Capone,” was arrested shortly afterward as he was leaving a rental home accompanied by other women he had trafficked, authorities said.

The 20-year-old woman who escaped had been taken from California to Seattle to perform sex acts for money, prosecutors said in charging documents in King County Superior Court. She first tried to escape Burt by jumping nearly naked from the high window, they said. She finally succeeded after running from his car and sitting topless on a highway until the ride-share driver helped her.

The woman, identified only by her initials, H.A., was taken to a hospital with injuries including black eyes, broken ribs, a broken leg and spinal injuries.

Burt was being held on $750,000 bail and is set to be arraigned Thursday. It was not immediately clear if he had an attorney who might speak on his behalf. Details of the case were first reported by The Seattle Times.

His street name was tattooed on the faces of at least two of the women he trafficked as a sort of brand, authorities said.

“The defendant leads a sex trafficking enterprise that has operated in at least three U.S. states involving multiple victims, who have been exploited, harmed and maimed by the defendant’s violent and coercive actions,” Senior Deputy Prosecutor Benjamin Gauen wrote in charging papers.

According to investigators, Burt, H.A. and two other young women arrived in Seattle about a month ago. They stayed in a $1.4 million, six-bedroom home near Seward Park in South Seattle that was rented through Airbnb.

Burt would drive the women to a stretch of Aurora Avenue in North Seattle where prostitution is common and ensure they had rooms at a motel for their “dates,” the charging papers said. Each woman was expected to make at least $2,000 per day; they turned over all the money, and he provided food, clothes and housing and controlled them completely, the charging documents said.

H.A. told police she had been “working” for Burt for about four months in California and Arizona, as well as Seattle, according to documents. It was only in the past few weeks, after she and another woman said they wanted to quit prostitution and return home, that he started beating her, she said.

He attacked the other woman, identified as S.T., in the rental home, kicking and pistol-whipping her until her eyes swelled shut, prosecutors said, and he forced the other women to participate in the attack, as well.

On Nov. 2, he similarly beat and pistol-whipped H.A. after she said she wanted to leave, prosecutors said. Her lip split open so badly that it appeared to be hanging off her face, she told police.

For three days after that, she remained stuck at the rental home, prosecutors said, with no phone, money or anywhere to go. Her face was swollen and she suffered extreme rib pain.

Saturday evening, Burt began punching her again and ordered her to take off the clothes he had given her, Gauen wrote.

Wearing only underwear, she tried to escape out the front door, but Burt picked her up and slammed her to the ground, he wrote. Fearing she would be killed, she ran upstairs with Burt chasing her and then jumped from the third-story window.

She landed on the ground, hobbled into the street and flagged down a car with two women inside. As she spoke to them, the other young women came outside, saying that H.A. was “off her medication, that she was having an episode, and that she would be okay,” Seattle Police Detective Tammie Case wrote in an incident report.

The others forced H.A. into Burt’s white Mercedes, telling the women who had stopped to help that they were taking her to a hospital. Instead, Burt drove them to the Emerald Motel on Aurora Avenue, where they had been previously trafficked, the charging papers said. Burt sent the others into the motel while H.A., still wearing only her underwear, remained in the vehicle with him.

He told her he that would let her leave, but that he would knock her teeth out first, the prosecutor wrote. She escaped from the car and ran across a six-lane highway, trying to get help. Several motorists called 911, but no one stopped. To avoid being forced back into Burt’s car, she sat on the highway.

“H.A. felt safer in the middle of a busy highway, practically naked, at night than being within arm’s reach of the defendant,” Gauen wrote. “Surveillance video from a nearby business has corroborated H.A.’s account of what happened.”

The ride-share driver stopped and told H.A. to get in his van. Burt pursued them, shooting at the van, Gauen wrote. The ride-share driver was also armed and fired back over several blocks until he was able to get onto Interstate 5 and meet police at a gas station. No one appears to have been struck by the bullets, but the van’s windshield was riddled with holes.

Police arrested Burt as he was leaving the rental home with the other women, the documents said. He faces charges that include human trafficking, promoting prostitution, assault and drive-by shooting, but given the “expansive reach of the defendant’s egregious behavior,” additional charges are likely, Gauen wrote.

Prosecutors are also concerned about case tampering; one woman who continues to work for Burt has already been reaching out to H.A. in an attempt to learn her location and persuade her to return, Gauen wrote.


This story has been corrected to show the motel is called the Emerald Motel not the Emerald Hotel.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


The U.S. Supreme Court is seen, Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024, in Washington. The U.S. Supreme Court has h...

Associated Press

Supreme Court decision on Trump’s election status could come Monday morning

A SCOTUS decision could come Monday in the case about whether Trump can be kicked off the ballot over his efforts to undo his 2020 defeat.

19 hours ago

Republican presidential candidate former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley poses for a selfie after speakin...

Associated Press

Nikki Haley wins D.C. Republican primary, her first 2024 victory

Nikki Haley has won the Republican primary in the District of Columbia, notching her first victory of the 2024 campaign.

19 hours ago

An Apache group that has fought to protect land it considers sacred from a copper mining project in...

Associated Press

A US appeals court ruling could allow mine development in central Arizona on land sacred to Apaches

An Apache group that has fought to protect land from a copper mining project in central Arizona suffered a significant blow.

24 hours ago

On Friday, March 1, 2024, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said yogurt sold in the U.S. can ma...

Associated Press

Eating yogurt may reduce risk of type 2 diabetes, FDA says

Eating at least two cups of yogurt a week might reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said.

1 day ago

Arizona will not approve new housing construction on the fast-growing edges of metro Phoenix that r...

Associated Press

Arizona Senate passes plan to manage rural groundwater, but final success is uncertain

A plan to manage rural groundwater passed the Arizona Senate amid concerns about the availability of sufficient water for future generations.

3 days ago

A woman pauses while shopping at a Kohl's store in Clifton, N.J., Jan. 26, 2024. On Thursday, Feb. ...

Associated Press

Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation gauge picked up last month in sign of still-elevated prices

An inflation gauge favored by the Federal Reserve increased in January, the latest sign that the slowdown in U.S. consumer price increases is occurring unevenly from month to month.

4 days ago

Sponsored Articles


Fiesta Bowl Foundation

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade is excitingly upon us

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe is upon us! The attraction honors Arizona and the history of the game.


Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 

(KTAR News Graphic)...

Boys & Girls Clubs

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.

Seattle cops: Woman makes harrowing escape from vicious pimp