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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The "Black Madam" Butt-Injection Murder Case

     Born in 1970, Padge Victoria Windslowe didn't become a woman until she had a sex change operation in 2006. The aspiring hip-hop singer who billed herself as the "Black Madam" (presumably because she's black), had also gone under the names Victoria Forrest Gordon, and Genevieve D'Gordoni. (I don't know her pre-female name.) The multi-named Windslowe also had a pair of social security numbers, and lived in two places--with her mother and stepfather in west Philadelphia and in an apartment in Narberth, Pennsylvania.

     Although Windslowe had no medical training, the Black Madam injected silicone into the hips and buttocks of young women who attended her "pumping parties" to acquire larger butts. Windslowe's client/victims paid between $700 and $2,000 for these cosmetic enhancement procedures carried out in Philadelphia area homes and hotel rooms.

     Melissa Lisath, a 27-year-old account manager for a construction company in the Bronx, New York, attended a September 2008 pumping party hosted by the Black Madam at a Red Roof Inn in Mount Laurel, New Jersey. Lisath, one of several women in the motel room, paid $1,800 for the procedure. Windslowe identified herself as a plastic surgeon's assistant named Lillia.

     Six hours after receiving the painful silicone injections, Lisath, back in the Bronx, started having trouble breathing. She began to sweat profusely, then threw up blood. Rushed to the hospital, she slipped into a coma. The chemicals Windslowe had injected into her body had migrated into her bloodstream, then into her lungs. Three months after the pumping party, Lisath came out of her coma. She weighed 80 pounds, couldn't walk, and had a bone condition. Two years would pass before she was well enough to take care of herself.

     No criminal charges were filed against Windslowe in connection with Melissa Lisath's nearly fatal reaction to the Mount Laurel pumping party injections. The Black Madam continued to inject silicone into women who gathered in area homes and motels for the toxic cosmetic procedures.

     In December 2011, Claudia Seye Aderotimi, a 20-year-old college student from London, England, flew to Philadelphia, where, in a hotel room near the airport, Windslowe administered the butt enlargement shots. Within hours of the injections, Aderotimi complained of chest pains, suffered a heart attack, then died suddenly of liver failure. (As reported in the U. K., Aderotimi was an exotic dancer.)

     On February 19, 2012, Windslowe injected a 23-year-old exotic dancer at a pumping party held in Germantown, Pennsylvania. The needle hit a blood vessel which carried the toxic chemicals to the unidentified woman's lungs. Treated for a blocked lung artery, the victim, after seven days in the hospital, went home requiring extra oxygen to breathe. As a result of this woman's medical reaction to the Black Madam's injections, the local prosecutor charged Windslowe with aggravated assault, simple assault, and deceptive practices. Instead of taking Windslowe into custody, the Philadelphia police placed her under surveillance.

     Ten days after the Black Madam had injected the 23-year-old exotic dancer, the police raided a pumping party attended by five women in another Germantown home. They took Windslowe into custody and seized her equipment which included syringes, needles, chemicals, and other butt enlarging paraphernalia such as cotton balls and Super Glue. A magistrate set Windslowe's bail at $10 million, but a judge lowered it to $750,000. The Black Madam was confined, under house arrest, at the west Philadelphia home occupied by her mother and stepfather.

     Investigators linked the Black Madam to 14 pumping parties in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

     On July 23, 2012, the District Attorney's office in Philadelphia charged Padge Windslowe with third degree murder in connection with the death of London tourist Claudia Aderotimi. The Delaware County Medical Examiner, Dr. Frederic Hellman, following a toxicological analysis of the injected substance, declared a direct link between the Black Madam's injection and the victim's death. According to the forensic pathologist, the industrial grade silicone had traveled, through Aderontimi's blood, to her liver, lungs, and brain. Dr. Hellman listed the victim's cause of death as pulmonary embolism.

     Padge Windslowe's attorney, Christopher Mannix, told reporters in October 2012 that he would challenge the state's toxicological conclusions at his client's upcoming trial.

     Padge Windslowe, in 2014, rejected a plea bargain deal involving a sentence of 15 to 30 years. If convicted as charged she faced up to 40 years in prison.

     On February 17, 2015, in Philadelphia Pennsylvania, Windslowe went on trial for third-degree murder involving the death of Claudia Aderotimi of London, England. The day before, at a final pre-rrial motion hearing, Windslowe told the judge that her "body sculpting work" was so popular she was dubbed the Michelangelo of buttock injections. "God's blessed my hands with everything I touch," she said. "I make lots of money, in lots of ways."

     Assistant District Attorney Carlos Nega in his opening statement to the jury said that the defendant's clients were not millionaires like Kim Kardashian. As a result, the women had sought procedures that were cheap and risky.

     Defense attorney David Rudenstein, in his opening remarks to the jurors, in referring to the prosecutor's jury presentation, said, "It's a nutso situation. It almost blows your mind listening to it." However, the lawyer added, his client would not have injected herself over the years if she didn't consider the butt-injection procedure safe.

     On February 19, 2015, two of the defendant's clients took the stand for the prosecution and testified that Windslowe charged $l,000 to $2,000 per injection session. The Black Madam had falsely held herself out as either an experienced nurse or a physician's assistant for a plastic surgeon. Both witnesses said they had endured frequent discomfort and worried they might develop serious health problems.

     On Monday March 2, 2015, after the defendant spent most of the day testifying on her own behalf under her attorney's direct examination, she complained of chest pains. Later that day she checked herself into a Philadelphia hospital where she remained for two days.

     When Windslowe returned to the witness strand she testified that her patient Claudia Aderotimi had consumed alcohol shortly after her procedure in violation of the defendant's post-injection instructions.

     Throughout her testimony, Windslowe went out of her way to drop the names of famous people she claimed to have treated. She mentioned Kanye West, Nicki Minaj, model Amber Rose and Ed Rendell, the former governor of Pennsylvania. On cross-examination, prosecutor Vega asked the defendant why rich and famous people would choose a unlicensed practitioner over a Los Angeles surgeon. "Because I was the best," she said, "and I don't mean that to be cocky."

     Windslowe did not come across as a sympathetic witness. From her attorney's point of view, her testimony did more harm than good. She didn't seem to have a clue why she was on trial for third-degree murder. She actually seemed to enjoy all the attention.

     On March 9, 2015, the jury found the defendant guilty as charged. Philadelphia Common Pleas Judge Rose Marie DeFino-Nastasi, on June 11, 2015, sentenced Windslowe to ten to twenty years in prison. Upon her release Windslowe will serve six years on probation. At the sentencing hearing the judge called the "Black Madam" a narcissist. (A more accurate characterization would be sociopath.) 

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