PHILADELPHIA (MCT) — Speaking softly but in an unwavering voice, Theresa Gyamfi told a Common Pleas Court judge that moments after her childhood friend Claudia Aderotimi received several silicone buttock injections in a Philadelphia hotel room, the woman complained of a sudden, growing pain in her chest.
“She said every time she breathes in, it hurts,” Gyamfi, 22, said of her friend’s reaction after the February 2011 procedure. “I could see it in her face. She was close to tears. She said, ‘It’s really annoying, and it doesn’t feel normal.’”
Twelve hours later, Aderotimi, 20, an aspiring dancer who had traveled to Philadelphia from London to get buttock-enhancing injections, was dead.
“Black Madam” Padge Victoria Windslowe, accused of administering the illegal injections, was held for trial Wednesday on a third-degree murder charge.
Though Windslowe, 42, has no medical license, authorities said she ran a profitable business giving black-market injections to women willing to pay thousands for curvier bodies.
Prosecutors from the Philadelphia district attorney’s office argued in court Wednesday that Windslowe presented herself to Aderotimi and Gyamfi as a medical professional, callously disregarded obvious health risks, and used industry-grade silicone for the injections.
“She injected it into a young woman who was otherwise healthy,” Assistant District Attorney Bridget Kirn said. “That is clear evidence of malice and disregard of the known and unknown risks she caused to other unknown women. … She started this, and by her actions, she finished it.”
Frederic Hellman, chief medical examiner for Delaware County, testified that Aderotimi died from a pulmonary embolism caused by the silicone, which spread to her blood, lungs, brain and liver.
Windslowe, who has recorded gothic hip-hop songs and videos under the stage name “Black Madam,” has been jailed since February, when she was arrested on charges of giving buttock injections to an exotic dancer, 23, at a “pumping party” in Philadelphia. That woman was later hospitalized and spent months on oxygen.
Windslowe was charged in Aderotimi’s death in July, after the medical examiner’s report was finalized.
On Wednesday, Windslowe attentively watched the proceedings, sometimes taking notes. She wore a tight, low-cut, black top and a long necklace, her hair pulled back in a braid.
Windslowe’s attorney, Christopher Mannix, disputed some of Hellman’s findings, saying the silicone in Aderotimi’s lungs was never compared with the silicone found at the injection site. Given that Aderotimi had received injections on at least two occasions, he said, the link to Windslowe was circumstantial.
“After more than 18 months, no test has been done on the silicone that was found in the lungs,” he said after the hearing. “There’s no way to connect that to the alleged injection Feb. 7.”
Gyamfi, who works in a jewelry store, testified that she and Aderotimi worked as dancers and occasional models in London and that they began researching plastic surgery in March 2010. They consulted two doctors in London, but decided against one after learning that the injections would be absorbed into the body and would have to be replaced. They found a website featuring before-and-after pictures of enhancement surgeries, and eventually contacted a woman who said she had received successful buttock injections.
That woman, identified by Gyamfi as “Sasha,” offered to arrange for the two women to get injections. She told them that the woman who did hers was a nurse-practitioner and that Sasha would arrange everything in exchange for a referral fee of $300 per person.
Kirn said authorities had not decided whether to charge Sasha criminally.
In November 2010, Gyamfi and Aderotimi flew to Philadelphia and checked into the Hampton Inn, where they were met by Sasha and Windslowe, whom they knew as “Lillian.” Sasha encouraged them to touch her buttocks so they could see how the injections felt after completion, and she said that once the silicone was injected, it stayed in one place. The worst thing that could happen, Sasha and Windslowe told them, was that the silicone might leak out.
“After these discussions, how did you feel about whether you should do this or not?” Assistant District Attorney Carlos Vega asked.
“Confident,” Gyamfi said.
Gyamfi and Aderotimi were so pleased with the results they returned to Philadelphia in February, she said. Each paid about $2,000 for her first round of injections, then $1,800 for the second. Each time, they were given the choice of a “bubble butt” or “teardrop” shape, and Windslowe used markers to draw on their skin before telling them to lie down. Windslowe filled needles with a clear liquid, Gyamfi said, then sealed the injection wounds with Crazy Glue and cotton balls. In February, Gyamfi said, Windslowe brought a woman with her, explaining that Windslowe was “training her.”
After Aderotimi began to experience severe distress in February 2011, Windslowe pressed on her chest, as though feeling for her heartbeat, Gyamfi said.
“She said, if the pain gets worse, call an ambulance,” Gyamfi said. Then, she said, Windslowe left.