30th January 23:32
Woman charged with injecting silicone into trans people (lidocaine convulsions heart)
Woman charged with injecting silicone into trans people
Kevin Davis, PlanetOut Network Friday, August 6, 2004 / 07:07 PM
A Ge****a woman was charged Tuesday with one count of unauthorized
practice of medicine on suspicion of having injected people with
liquid silicone since 2000.
Investigators with the Gwinnett County District Attorney's office
executed a search warrant at the home of Verna Deloris Barnett, 46,
who performed the procedure, called "pumping" -- a dangerous
alternative to breast implants for male-to-female transpeople.
Barnett is free on a $55,000 bond. She could receive a maximum
sentence of five years for each count.
While searching the ba*****t of Barnett's suburban home in Norcross,
Ge****a, authorities found a fake medical exam room with a
paper-covered folding massage table, 20 to 30 bags of bandages,
lidocaine, syringes and 15 gallons of food-grade silicone. Based on
trash found at the home, Barnett may have recently pocketed $10,000
for the injections, according to Gwinnett County District Attorney
"We're trying to get people to come forward to find out the extent of
the business," Porter told the PlanetOut Network. "I want to find
someone who's died and put her out of business.
Investigators said Barnett would take $1,200 in cash for breast
augmentation or $500 for injecting the silicone to round hips.
Customers were instructed to wear a special bra afterward, so the
silicone would harden into the shape of breasts.
Barnett, who Porter described as "the preferred service provider in
the Southeast," is married with two children and no previous criminal
history. It was not clear whether she had hired a lawyer.
"I want to put her out of business," said Porter. "We've already found
a woman injected by Verna. We've moved out of the trans***ual
community. It's not just transgender now."
DA Porter said Andre D. Jeter, 23, paid Barnett for "pumping," then
followed up by attending a pumping party in Albany, Ge****a. The party
was led by clients of Barnett, who say they learned the trade by
On December 10, Jeter suffered convulsions and fell unconscious. He
died a month later.
Barnett is not charged with Jeter's death. Stephen Oneal Thomas, 31,
known as "Myasha," has been charged with murder on suspicion of
administering the injections. His housemate, Nikkia Scott, and two
others are charged with criminal conspiracy in the death.
Thomas himself received injections from Barnett in Birmingham, Alabama
and New Orleans.
"The charge right now (against Barnett) is injection of Thomas," said
Thomas' charge could be reduced to manslaughter with his cooperation,
according to James Paulk, chief investigator for the Dougherty County
Barnett's food-grade liquid lubricant, while still toxic when
injected, is created in sterile conditions for use in food-processing
machinery. Industrial-grade silicone is thicker and must be diluted.
The Albany four bought theirs at a building supply store and cut it
with baby oil.
"Thomas observed her [Barnett] and said, 'We can make our own money,'"
Paulk told the PlanetOut Network.
One of Barnett's "patients" is Savanna resident Mark Edwards, 23, who
competes in drag pageants as "Jazzmyn Braxton." Edwards is bed-ridden,
breathing with the aid of an oxygen tank and consuming a variety of
heart and lung medications. Edwards said he spent about $3,300 getting
face, bust and lower-body injections from Barnett since 2000.
"A lot of people can't afford real plastic surgery," Edwards told
Albany's WALB-TV in January. "So if you can get your breasts done for
$1,500 instead of three to six thousand dollars, you will go ahead and
"We've had some luck in the local media," said Porter. "The hardest
thing to get through is that there is no criminal liability just from
seeing Verna. We are just gathering scientific evidence. People have
called suspecting they having health problems. We can refer them to
people to get medical attention."