PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A former madam who bragged of doing black-market “body sculpting” on thousands of women was convicted of murder in the death of a dancer whose heart stopped after nearly a half-gallon of silicone injected into her buttocks moved to her lungs.
Padge-Victoria Windslowe’s colorful testimony during her Philadelphia trial included claims that she was “the Michelangelo of buttocks injections” and that model Amber Rose was “a walking billboard” for her work. Yet Windslowe had no medical training, other than tips she said she picked up from overseas doctors who performed her sex change operation and a physician-client of her escort service who became her lover.
“I think it was a hoax, like her whole life has been a hoax,” Assistant District Attorney Carlos Vega said Monday of the supposed training.
The evidence showed that Windslowe traveled to hotel rooms and “pumping parties” with tools of her trade stuffed into a shiny pink purse: a water bottle filled with silicone, a red plastic cup, needles and syringes, and Krazy Glue to close the wound.
Windslowe, 45, name-dropped the likes of rappers Nicki Minaj and Kanye West and athlete Serena Williams during her testimony and claimed to have been baptized “Genevieve” after her sex change by the late Roman Catholic Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua. Rose’s representatives have not responded to messages seeking comment about the claim that she was a client.
Windslowe described herself as a serial entrepreneur who once ran a transgender escort service and a Gothic hip-hop performer who called herself “the Black Madam.”
“I was the best, and I don’t mean that to be cocky,” Windslowe testified, explaining why celebrities would have sought her out over a licensed plastic surgeon.
Authorities argued that she fled in 2011 after a botched injection killed Claudia Aderotimi, a 20-year-old London break-dancer and college student.
The trial was halted for several days last week while Windslowe was hospitalized for chest pains. She has been in prison since 2012, when the confounding 18-month investigation led to a coroner’s homicide ruling.
“As we moved forward with this bizarre case from house to house (as Windslowe was on the move), from search warrant to search warrant, from year to year, we just stayed on top of it,” said Philadelphia Police Lt. John Walker.
Windslowe conceded that she had injected Aderotimi, but her lawyer argued that she never wished clients any harm. Prosecutors called her reckless, especially in her choice to use industrial-grade silicone and cut it with saline in a home blender.
Windslowe, about 5 feet 10 and 250 pounds, said she had injected herself with the same product many times.
The jury took less than four hours to reject a lesser manslaughter charge and convict her of third-degree murder, which involves malice, but not premeditation.
Windslowe was also convicted of aggravated assault for injuries to a Philadelphia woman hospitalized after the injections and two weapons counts — for using of low-quality silicone.
She faces 20 to 40 years in prison on the murder conviction alone at her June 11 sentencing.
There have been several similar deaths around the country involving underground buttocks injections. A mother of three who died in Texas after having work done at a tile store was left by the roadside after her death in April 2011. A Columbian couple is serving up to eight years in prison for manslaughter in that case.
“Society puts a lot of pressure on women, especially when they’re young,” Walker said. “Ms. Windslowe here clearly preyed on people.”
Windslowe charged $1,000 to $2,500 for each treatment. The proceeds helped fund her home recording studio, slickly produced music videos and luxury car leases.
The typically upbeat Windslowe lowered her head after the verdict.
Lawyer David Rudenstein said the potential dangers weren’t clear to his client in 2011. He called her remorseful over both the injuries — a second case in New Jersey could yet yield charges — and Aderotimi’s death.
He thought his client “came off very well in her tete-a-tete with Vega” during cross-examination, but perhaps told one too many anecdotes during three days on the stand.
“She did have an answer for everything,” he said.