A woman from Florida has pleaded guilty to eight felonies, after causing the death of a popular drag performer by posing as a doctor and illegally performing silicone injections.
Deanna Roberts, 47, claimed to be a licensed medical practitioner and injected four people with liquid silicone, including Lateasha Shuntel, a 45-yer-old performer from Atlanta who had the silicone placed in her buttocks, New York Daily News reports.
The Department of Justice issued a press release saying that Roberts put the lives of all her victims “at considerable risk.”
Shuntel died two days after the injection in November 2015, while the other three survived. Shuntel, who also went by the name Lateasha Hall, had been injected 10 times in each of her buttocks.
An autopsy of Shuntel reported that a blood vessel had been ruptured and that silicone had entered her blood stream, congesting her lungs, liver, kidney, heart, spleen and brain. Shuntel had reportedly complained of feeling tightness in her chest and shortness of breath a day before she died.
Liquid silicone can only be legally injected directly into the human body as a treatment for specific eye conditions. The US Food and Drug Administration says, “Liquid silicone injected into individuals’ bodies can cause serious bodily injury and death, and FDA has not approved any such product for tissue augmentation. We remain fully committed to bringing to justice those who offer dangerous and unapproved products to American consumers.”
Roberts pleaded guilty to four counts of possessing and injecting liquid silicone, and four felony counts of bringing silicone into interstate commerce. She bought at least 178 gallons of liquid silicone from April 2004 to December 2015, law enforcement reported. She insisted that she did not intend to use the silicone on humans, only to supply a customer with it for use as to “lubricate medical equipment.” She will be sentenced this May.