Padge-Victoria Windslowe, the so-called "Black Madam," will spend 10 to 20 years in state prison for killing one woman and badly injuring another by giving them silicone butt injections, a Philadelphia judge decided Thursday.
Windslowe, 43, wore a cream-colored knee-length dress with a matching ruffled sweater, and had a cream-colored scrunchie holding her dark hair in a side ponytail in court. Winged black eyeliner lined her eyes and she wore pink lipstick.
After her prison term, she will serve six years of probation.
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The former Black Madam, who proclaimed herself "the Michelangelo of butt injections" at her trial, appeared demure as she addressed Judge Rose DeFino-Nastasi, telling her that she did not realize the silicone injections were dangerous.
"I'm truly sorry for the people I harmed, but know from the bottom of my heart that it wasn't malice," she said.
She told the judge that after her sex change, receiving silicone butt injections made her feel attractive, and that she liked making other women feel that way.
"I basically felt like an ugly duckling turned into a swan," she said.
She said giving the injections and becoming well-known for her work made her feel like she finally fit in.
"I never had that when I was younger, because I was a boy with a girl inside of me," she said.
Windslowe, whose trial in March was marked by her colorful antics and delayed several days when she suffered chest pain, was found guilty by a jury of third-degree murder for the death of Claudia Aderotimi, 20, a dancer from London who traveled to Philadelphia in 2011 to receive a silicone injection from the "Madam."
Aderotimi died when the injection went awry and the silicone entered her bloodstream.
The jury found also Windslowe, who also goes by Page Gordon, guilty of aggravated assault for injecting another woman's buttocks after Aderotimi's death. The injection in that woman led to a pulmonary embolism, and prosecutors said she still suffers from breathing problems related to it.
"She can't play with her son like other moms because she's short of breath," Assistant District Attorney Carlos Vega said in court, giving an impact statement for the victim, adding that she lives in fear for what the silicone floating free in her body will do to her. "She, being a single mother, doesn't have the luxury of dying."
Vega and Assistant District Attorney Bridget Kirn, who also prosecuted Windslowe, said the victims did not appear at the sentencing to give their own impact statements, but instead asked the prosecutors to speak for them, because they are embarrassed.
David Rudenstein, Windslowe's court-appointed defense attorney, argued that growing up as a transgender person, she faced a tough childhood during which her family did not understand her, and she felt like an outcast.
"Maybe if she was growing up right now and there was a role model on the cover of Vanity Fair, she would grow up differently," Rudenstein argued.
"She's trying to be a better person," he added later, saying she has a "decent heart" and is not evil.
Several people testified on Windslowe's behalf before she was sentenced, including two women who teach faith-based classes at Riverside Correctional Facility, the city women's jail on State Road where Windslowe has been incarcerated for more than a year. The teachers vouched for Windslowe's dedication in class and said she's been a "role model" for other women in the jail.
Windslowe's mother wore white-lace gloves and a pink sash with a flower on it around her neck in court and became emotional several times during the hearing. Rudenstein called her to testify for her daughter, but she declined to speak, saying it was too difficult to do so. Windslowe's younger sister, Sherrie Johnson, spoke in court.
"Padge was always a sibling that kept the family together," Johnson said. "Padge has never been a person to hurt or harm anyone. She is loved by many."
About a dozen people sat in the gallery in support of Windslowe during her sentencing.
Windslowe appeared contrite as she addressed the judge. She began to cry when she explained that if she knew what kind of pain her injection business would eventually cause for her and her family.
"I feel very ashamed this is tied to my name," she cried. "All I ever wanted was to make my family and Philadelphia proud."
The prosecutors, however, did not buy Windslowe's remorse. They argued that a new -- albeit phony -- business Windslowe set up while in jail that sells pants that purport to move fat in the body show that she is not truly sorry. They also pointed out that she made brochures claiming to represent a foundation named for victim Claudia Aderotimi and has been soliciting $50 donations for T-shirts for a charity walk also bearing the woman's name.
"The victim's family doesn't want this," Kirn said. "They do not want the defendant promoting herself on their backs."
DeFino-Nastasi agreed with the defense that Windslowe is not an evil person, but scolded Windslowe prior to handing down her sentence for ignoring the rules and attempting to use childlike manipulation to excuse her crimes.
"Somebody's got to explain to you that there are rules," the judge said. "You sat in the courtroom and you boasted about your work. It's insulting that you sat here and called yourself 'the Michelangelo of butt injections.'"
The judge also said Windslowe had been sending brochures to "every judge in the building" and warned her to stop sending the judges materials in the mail, calling her correspondence harassment.
After the sentencing, Kirn said she didn't know whether Windslowe has collected any money for the purported charity bearing Aderotimi's name.
"I certainly hope not," she said.
Kirn and Vega both said the brochure for Windslowe's business, called "Assets," claimed to sell pants that redistribute fat. It also claimed to have offices around the world, Vega said.
Both prosecutors called Windslowe's business a con.
Defense attorney Rudenstein said he believed Windslowe's sentence was fair. Prosecutors had requested a sentence of 30 to 60 years.
"I don't want to say it was light," Rudenstein said. "I think the judge considered all the factors, good and bad, and it's a fair sentence considering everything."
Windslowe's sister, Johnson, said her family was happy with the fairly lenient punishment.
"We're blessed. We are blessed," she said outside the courthouse. "We are very satisfied. God is good."