Man was on Judge Judy using alias before 'imprisoning woman in cinderblock cell'

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Negasi Zuberi appears on Judge Judy going under the name Justin Hyche (Image: CBS)
Negasi Zuberi appears on Judge Judy going under the name Justin Hyche (Image: CBS)

The suspected kidnapper accused of imprisoning a woman in a homemade cinderblock cell had previously appeared on the popular TV court show Judge Judy, under one of his many aliases.

Negasi Zuberi is accused of kidnapping a Washington state woman as well as targeting women across the US in a series of violent sexual assaults. FBI have said over the years he has lived in a number of states and used a number of aliases including the one used on Judge Judy.

He appeared on a 2018 episode using the name Justin Hyche and was suing the mum of his children, Alycia Westfall, for throwing a bottle at him and for bleaching his suites. The episode ended with Judge Judy ordering Ms Westfall to pay Zuberi $2,500 in damages. She had countersued him for smashing her cell phone and filing what she called a "false restraining order", but Judge Judy found in his favour.

The show referenced Zuberi's move from California to New York, two states mentioned by the FBI. At the time the two had been living separately but sharing custody of their sons.

Years later, he is now accused of kidnapping a woman in Seattle before driving her to his Oregon home and locking her in a makeshift cell. The 29-year-old allegedly told the woman he was an undercover officer, showed her a badge, pointed a stun gun at her, and placed her in handcuffs and leg irons before putting her in the back of his vehicle, the complaint said.

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The FBI shared pictures of the sinister cell showing dangling wires, a single chair and exposed walls.

Man was on Judge Judy using alias before 'imprisoning woman in cinderblock cell'Mugshot of Negasi Zuberi taken in Washoe County Detention Facility (AP)
Man was on Judge Judy using alias before 'imprisoning woman in cinderblock cell'A photo shows the cell Zuberi kept the victim (FBI of Oregon)

Zuberi now faces a federal interstate kidnapping charge, and authorities said they are looking for additional victims after linking him to sexual assaults in at least four more states.

According to the complaint, Zuberi also went by the names Sakima, Justin Hyche and Justin Kouassi, and he has lived in multiple states since 2016, possibly including California, Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Utah, Florida, New York, New Jersey, Alabama, and Nevada.

Man was on Judge Judy using alias before 'imprisoning woman in cinderblock cell'Zuberi on Judge Judy alongside the mother of his children, Alycia Westfall (Judge Judy/CBS)

“This woman was kidnapped, chained, sexually assaulted, and locked in a cinderblock cell,” Stephanie Shark, the assistant special agent in charge of the FBI’s Portland field office, said in a news release. “Police say she beat the door with her hands until they were bloody in order to break free. Her quick thinking and will to survive may have saved other women from a similar nightmare.”

Man was on Judge Judy using alias before 'imprisoning woman in cinderblock cell'Creepy notes allegedly found at Zuberi's house by investigators (FBI)
Man was on Judge Judy using alias before 'imprisoning woman in cinderblock cell'Strange diagrams found by law enforcement (FBI)

After the woman escaped from his home in Klamath Falls, 29-year-old Negasi Zuberi fled the southern Oregon city of roughly 22,000 people but was arrested by state police in Reno, Nevada, the next afternoon, the FBI said. Court records don’t list an attorney who might speak on his behalf.

According to the FBI, Zuberi also went by the names Sakima, Justin Hyche and Justin Kouassi, and he has lived in multiple states since 2016, possibly including California, Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Utah, Florida, New York, New Jersey, Alabama, and Nevada.

Man was on Judge Judy using alias before 'imprisoning woman in cinderblock cell'The interior of the cell (AP)

According to a criminal complaint filed in US District Court in Oregon, Zuberi solicited the woman, identified only as Adult Victim 1 in the early-morning hours of July 15 to engage in prostitution along Aurora Avenue in Seattle, an area known for sex work. Afterward, Zuberi told the woman he was an undercover officer, showed her a badge, pointed a stun gun at her, and placed her in handcuffs and leg irons before putting her in the back of his vehicle, the complaint said.

Man was on Judge Judy using alias before 'imprisoning woman in cinderblock cell'The mum of his children, Alycia Westfall counter sued him on the show (Judge Judy/CBS)

He then drove the woman to his home in Oregon, stopping along the way to sexually assault her, the complaint states.

When they arrived, about seven hours after he first encountered her in Seattle, he put her in a makeshift cell he had built in his garage — a cinderblock cell with a door of metal bars — and said he was leaving to do paperwork, the complaint says.

Man was on Judge Judy using alias before 'imprisoning woman in cinderblock cell'Negasi Zuberi's most recent police photo (AP)
Man was on Judge Judy using alias before 'imprisoning woman in cinderblock cell'Negasi Zuberi in an earlier booking photo (AP)

The woman “briefly slept and awoke to the realisation that she would likely die if she did not attempt to escape,” the complaint states.

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She started banging on the door and eventually broke it open. She saw Zuberi’s vehicle parked in the garage, opened it, grabbed his gun and then took off, leaving blood on a wooden fence she climbed over to escape, the complaint said. She flagged down a passing driver who called 911.

The FBI now fears Zuberi may be linked to several other crimes and victims and is setting up a website for anyone who thinks he may have targeted them to come forward.

Man was on Judge Judy using alias before 'imprisoning woman in cinderblock cell'The rental home where Zuberi allegedly took the woman (Google Street View)

In a court document filed to the Contra Costa County, California and obtained by NBC, a woman filed a petition for a domestic violence restraining order against one of the aliases, 'Justin Kouassi.'

It read: "He physically attacks me, he hits me, he brakes [sic] and throws things, he screams at the kids and me... we get woken up every night from him being drunk and loud and scares us."

Charlie Jones

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