PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A Philadelphia woman known as "the Black Madam" performed deadly cosmetic surgery on a London dancer in an airport hotel room, then used Krazy Glue to close the wounds and fled when the client went into respiratory distress, a witness testified Wednesday.
A judge upheld a third-degree murder charge against Padge Gordon after the victim's friend testified about getting silicone injections to enlarge their buttocks in February 2011.
Theresa Gyamfi testified that Gordon gave them the injections in their room at the Hampton Inn and left when 20-year-old Claudia Aderotimi started having trouble breathing. The Londoners had no contact information for the woman they'd met through an intermediary online and knew only as "Lillian."
Gyamfi, 22, said they had had the same procedure done by Gordon at the hotel months earlier and had no problems. They then came back for a "touch-up." But Aderotimi had trouble breathing almost immediately after the second procedure, Gyamfi said. Aderotimi died at a hospital hours later.
Gordon, who remains in jail on $750,000 bond, looked down at the defense table when Gyamfi described learning of her friend's death and viewing the body at the hospital.
Delaware County Medical Examiner Frederic Hellman testified that the industrial-grade silicone went into the woman's blood, liver, lungs and brain. He said Aderotimi died of a pulmonary embolism.
Defense lawyer Christopher Mannix said he plans to challenge those medical conclusions at trial, along with allegations his client performed the injections. The 42-year-old Gordon, also known as Padge Windslowe, is also charged with practicing medicine without a license.
Police believe Gordon has performed at least 14 cosmetic surgeries, moving locations and using different names to avoid detection. They investigated Aderotimi's death for 18 months, with help from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, before filing the murder charges.
In the interim, Gordon was charged with aggravated assault for allegedly injuring an exotic dancer at a New Year's Eve 2011 "pumping party" in Philadelphia, when she allegedly injected a group of dancers on a dining room table. The injured woman spent two weeks in the hospital with respiratory problems, after silicone particles attached to her lungs were too small to remove surgically, her doctor has said.
In court Wednesday, Gyamfi explained why she and her childhood friend traveled to the U.S. "We basically came here to get injections to enhance our figures," she said.
They also were celebrating Aderotimi's upcoming birthday on the second trip. They paid Gordon about $2,000 each on the first trip and $1,800 on the second trip for the injections.
Gordon arrived at the hotel room on Feb. 7, 2011, took needles from a bag and silicone from a jug to enlarge the women's buttocks, and then closed the wounds with cotton balls and glue, Gyamfi testified. Gordon left the hotel after Aderotimi became ill — and told them to call an ambulance if she didn't get better, Gyamfi said.
Gyamfi said she and her friend thought Gordon was a nurse. But Mannix questioned whether they really thought they were signing up for a legal procedure.
Third-degree murder carries a potential 20- to 40-year sentence in Pennsylvania.
"She took a product meant for industry and food grain and she injected it into a young woman who was otherwise healthy, at age 20 ... who then died," Assistant District Attorney Bridget Kirn said. "That is ... clear, clear evidence of malice, and disregard of the known and unknown risks she caused to other unknown women."