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'Black Madam' gets 10-20 years in butt injection death

Padge-Victoria Windslowe - Philadelphia's self-styled "Michelangelo of buttocks injections" - was sentenced Thursday to 10 to 20 years in prison for killing a woman and injuring another with illegal liquid silicone injections.

Padge Victoria Windslowe, who calls herself "the Black Madam."
Padge Victoria Windslowe, who calls herself "the Black Madam."Read more

Padge-Victoria Windslowe - Philadelphia's self-styled "Michelangelo of buttocks injections" - was sentenced Thursday to 10 to 20 years in prison for killing a woman and injuring another with illegal liquid silicone injections.

As when she testified in her defense in March, Windslowe, 43, a transgender woman who also goes by the handle "Black Madam," insisted she believed her buttocks enhancement injections were safe.

"I never knew the danger of this product," Windslowe told Common Pleas Court Judge Rosemarie DeFino-Nastasi. "I gave it to myself and my friends. We grew up with it."

DeFino-Nastasi conceded that Windslowe was not "evil" or "hard of heart," but added that Windslowe practiced "magical thinking" to rationalize whatever she wanted to do.

DeFino-Nastasi noted that Windslowe continued giving injections even after knowing that she had killed a client.

The judge called Windslowe a skilled and heavy Internet user, and said that the federal ban on silicone injections is easy to find.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration banned human injection of silicone liquid in 1991, but the practice continues underground, especially among transgender people and women who cannot afford plastic surgery.

Moreover, DeFino-Nastasi said, Windslowe had no medical training, though she variously told clients she was a nurse, nurse-practitioner, or physician's assistant.

"You don't get to play by your own set of rules," DeFino-Nastasi said. "That's a theme that goes on here. You don't think you have to follow the rules of society."

A Common Pleas Court jury convicted Windslowe of third-degree murder in the death of Claudia Aderotimi, 20, a British dancer who flew from London for the procedure to be done in an airport-area hotel. The autopsy showed the silicone migrated through her bloodstream, damaging her heart, lungs, and brain.

The jury also found Windslowe guilty of aggravated assault in the hospitalization of stripper Sherkeeia King, 23, after a February 2012 "pumping party" in East Germantown. The jury convicted her on two counts of possessing an instrument of a crime - the needles she used to inject industrial-grade silicone into her clients.

In addition to prison, Windslowe will be on six years' probation when she is released.

DeFino-Nastasi also ordered Windslowe to stop promoting from prison an unregistered charity she started and called "Claudia Seye Aderotimi Foundation."

Windslowe said she wanted to raise money for Aderotimi's family through donations and a sponsored walk. It was not known whether the campaign had raised any money.

"The victim's family wants her to stop using the victim's name and earning money on their backs," said Assistant District Attorney Bridget Kirn, who handled the case with fellow prosecutor Carlos Vega.

DeFino-Nastasi agreed, telling Windslowe: "Stop it. It's hurtful."

DeFino-Nastasi also ordered Windslowe to stop letters being written to other Philadelphia judges on her behalf.

Since the jury's verdict, Windslowe and inmates at the city's Riverside women's prison have sent hundreds of letters to DeFino-Nastasi's fellow judges protesting the verdict and urging leniency.

"All you're doing is harassing other people in this building, and that's not good," DeFino-Nastasi said.

Prosecutors urged DeFino-Nastasi to sentence Windslowe to 30 to 60 years in prison, shy of the maximum 35 to 70.

Kirn called Windslowe an inveterate liar and schemer who has used numerous false identities and "is willing to say whatever she has to at any given time."

Windslowe had her own tough words for Kirn: "No matter how you contort things, God knows everything, and you'll have to answer for the lives that you've stolen."

Ten people supported Windslowe, including her mother and father, sister, several cousins, and friends.

They described a loving, caring woman who was always there to support her family and was a shrewd businesswoman.

"Padge is an entrepreneur as well as myself," said sister Sherrie Johnson. "That's in our hereditary genes."

Both parents wept when Windslowe - born Forest Leon Gordon - apologized for what she put them through.

Defense attorney David Rudenstein argued that Windslowe was the victim of growing up transgender in a less tolerant time.

"Maybe growing up right now, with a role model on the cover of Vanity Fair right now, she would have grown up differently," Rudenstein said.

Windslowe's trial drew international attention, in part because Aderotimi was from London and because Windslowe claimed to have toured the United Kingdom and France performing procedures there.