Deanna M. Roberts, a Florida-based beautician, has pled guilty to the death of Shuntel (AKA Lateasha Hall) after giving the beloved transgender drag performer a series of injections. Roberts had performed the potentially-deadly beauty procedure on at least three other individuals who somehow survived.
According to NY Daily News, Roberts falsely claimed to be a licensed medical practitioner who put the lives of all four patients "at considerable risk."
"Liquid silicone injected into individuals' bodies can cause serious bodily injury and death, and FDA has not approved any such product for tissue augmentation," said Justin Green of the FDA. "We remain fully committed to bringing to justice those who offer dangerous and unapproved products to American consumers."
“It is always a tragedy when someone loses their life due to the reckless negligence of another. This death shows why there is a need for FDA oversight and highlights the dangers when the system is illegally circumvented. We are thankful for the successful indictment of Deanna Roberts and pray that other lives can be saved by removing her ability to perform this dangerous activity,” said Chief John F. King of the Doraville Police Department in a press release from the U.S. Attorneys Office.
Roberts pled guilty to four felony counts of possessing and injecting the liquid silicone, and four felony counts of introducing silicone into interstate commerce. She has since admitted to purchasing 178 gallons of liquid silicone between April of 2004 and December 2015, but claims she had never intended to inject the chemical into humans.
While statistics on these kinds of death are difficult to find, those in the LGBTQ community find stories like these rather common considering the high cost of gender-affirmative medical procedures in the USA. A similar case from 2015 highlighted the ways that trans women are often forced to seek illegal medical procedures.
Roberts will be sentenced for her crimes in May.
[Photo: Seminole County Sheriff's Office]