YOUR THIRD DEGREE MURDER CONVICTION IS PROBABLY GOING TO BE UPHELD IF …
YOUR THIRD DEGREE MURDER CONVICTION IS PROBABLY GOING TO BE UPHELD IF … YOU HOLD YOURSELF OUT AS A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL BUT, ARE UNTRAINED; YOU BRAG THAT OTHERS CALL YOU THE “MICHELANGELO OF BODY ENHANCEMENTS”; YOU INJECT NON-STERILE INDUSTRIAL-GRADE SILICONE INTO PEOPLE’S BUTTS; and, YOU ABANDON YOUR “PATIENT” AFTER CAUSING HER DEATH
The PA Superiror Court has decided the case of Commonwealth v. Padge Victoria Windslowe, a.k.a. Page Gordon, 2126 EDA 2015 (March 28, 2017), holding that because Windslowe consciously disregarded an unjustified and extremely high risk that her actions might cause serious bodily injury, the jury’s decision to convict of third-degree murder was supported by sufficient evidence.
Windslowe was charged with the murder of Claudia Aderotimi and the aggravated assault of Sherkeeia King, two women who were hospitalized after hiring Windslowe to perform an illicit cosmetic procedure in which Windslowe injected silicone into their buttocks.
Windslowe falsely advertised herself as a medical professional trained to perform a buttocks enhancement procedure accepted by the medical community as safe and effective. While King sustained permanent damage to her lungs, heart, and buttocks, Aderotimi did not survive.
At trial, medical testimony indicated that Aderotimi’s cause of death was a pulmonary embolism caused by Windslowe injecting silicone into her buttocks and it was opined that her manner of death was homicide. Additional medical testimony stressed that the injection of silicone is not an acceptable medical procedure to enlarge a patient’s buttocks and that there are only three approved methods of buttocks sculpting that must all be performed under anesthesia by accredited physicians in accredited medical facilities.
Although Windslowe initially avoided being arrested for Aderotimi’s murder, she was eventually apprehended in connection with the police investigation into a subsequent allegation of her assault of Sherkeeia King. In that incident, Windslowe identified herself as “Lillian,” a registered nurse in the cosmetology field trained to administer medical-grade silicone injections from Thailand. She injected King with silicone, closed the injection sites with Krazy Glue and cotton balls as she had for Aderotimi and, instructed King to drink plenty of water and to avoid sitting for an extended period of time. King paid Appellant $1,000.00 for a “Dixie cup” of silicone.
After receiving these injections, King learned of Aderotimi’s death, which had been linked to illegal silicone buttocks injections. When questioned by King and another woman about Aderotimi’s death, Windslowe alleged that Aderotimi was high on cocaine, died of an overdose, and did not follow Windslowe’s aftercare instructions. King and the other woman believed Windslowe and paid her to perform additional silicone buttocks injections. King was ultimately admitted to the Lankenau Hospital intensive care unit where she remained on a breathing machine for approximately twenty days, sustaining heart and lung damage consistent with a silicone pulmonary embolism linked to the injections from Windslowe. She was discharged from the hospital with level three heart disease and was required to use an oxygen tank for three additional weeks. She still has trouble breathing and cannot sit for an extended period of time.
THE POLICE INVESTIGATION
Officers were able to obtain and serve a search warrant on Windslowe’s Chesterbrook home. Officers recovered a packing slip and a specification sheet from Neely Industries, Inc. for the product Xiameter, which is an industrial grade silicone used to manufacture auto wax, shampoo, lubricant, or damping fluid. In addition, officers confiscated additional injection supplies, four cell phones, and newspaper clippings reporting on Aderotimi’s death.
All of the bottles seized tested positive for silicone and two of the bottles were labeled “not for injection via intravenously” and “Rx only.” At trial, a criminal investigator for the FDA testified that Xiameter is industrial silicone manufactured by Dow Corning and available through wholesalers like Neely Industries but, the FDA does not regulate Xiameter because it is not intended for human consumption.
At trial, Windslowe testified that she was born Forest Leon Gordon, changed her name to Padge-Victoria Windslowe in 1992, and had gender reassignment surgery in 1994. She claimed she was properly trained to administer silicone injections in 1994 or 1995 from a nurse named Natasha Rodriguez in her apartment in Washington Heights, New York; Windslowe alleged that Dr. Chim Choke of Thailand taught her how to mix lidocaine with adrenaline to use for numbing purposes. When the prosecutor asked if Windslowe told her customers that she received “back-street” training, Windslowe claimed “in the transgender world, we don’t always do things the conventional way [as there] is no path for us to do it.” Windslowe denied that she ever told her customers she was a nurse or a medically trained professional.
While Windslowe denied reading any bad reviews online from her customers, she bragged that customers on blogs had deemed her the “Michelangelo of body enhancements.”
THE JURY’S VERDICT
At the conclusion of the trial, the jury convicted Windslowe of third-degree murder, aggravated assault, and possessing of instruments of crime. The trial court sentenced Windslowe to an aggregate term of ten to twenty years imprisonment to be followed by six years probation.
Windslowe filed an appeal, essentially arguing that the jury’s decision to convict was not supported by sufficient evidence.
THE APPEAL: SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE REQUIRED FOR THIRD DEGREE MURDER
The Superior Court first outlined the standard to be applied to sustain a conviction for third-degree murder. In such cases, the Commonwealth need not establish that the defendant had specific intent to kill or harm the victim, but need only prove that the defendant killed another individual with malice aforethought. “Malice” is defined as: wickedness of disposition, hardness of heart, cruelty, recklessness of consequences, and a mind regardless of social duty, although a particular person may not be intended to be injured. Malice may be found where the defendant consciously disregarded an unjustified and extremely high risk that his actions might cause serious bodily injury. Malice may be inferred by considering the totality of the circumstances.
After reviewing the record, the Superior Court concluded that the Commonwealth presented ample evidence to allow the jury to find that Windslowe consciously disregarded an unjustified and extremely high risk that her actions might cause serious bodily injury.
Among the facts highlighted to support this conclusion, the Superior Court noted that Windslowe deceived her customers into believing she was a medical professional trained to perform an acceptable and safe buttocks enhancement procedure at a discounted price. She misled women by claiming her homemade concoction of non-sterile industrial silicone was a medical-grade substance suitable for human injection and blatantly ignored written warnings that silicone should not be ingested by humans.
As to the cruelty and recklessness required to support a finding of malice, the Superior Court concluded that Windslowe’s cruelty was demonstrated in her abandonment of Aderotimi as she experienced severe chest pain and trouble breathing after receiving injections and, Windslowe recklessly told Aderotimi to wait to seek medical care while she fled the hotel.
Furthermore, in continuing to brag that she was able to produce great results, the Superior Court found that Windslowe disregarded her causation of severe injury to King and the death of Aderotimi and, she minimalized the fact that she injected numerous women with large amounts of silicone, a harmful substance which cannot be removed from the body. Lastly, the Court concluded that Windslowe also demonstrated an extreme indifference to human life by continuing to induce women to obtain silicone injections despite her knowledge that she was likely causing injuries and had caused Aderotimi’s death.
Thus, in viewing the totality of the circumstances, the Superior Court found that the Commonwealth presented ample evidence that Windslowe acted with malice as she demonstrated a “wickedness of disposition, hardness of heart, cruelty, recklessness of consequences and a mind regardless of social duty such as to demonstrate an extreme indifference to human life.” Accordingly, the appellate court concluded that the jury’s decision to convict Windslowe of third-degree murder was supported by sufficient evidence.
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