I WAS PACKING up my laptop last night when my colleague Julie Shaw, a court reporter with more stories than she could handle, reached across the cubicle and gave me four envelopes.
They were written to Julie by none other than Padge Victoria Windslowe, a/k/a the notorious Black Madam. Before I'd even heard her name, I'd been following with morbid fascination America's current fixation on big, Kim Kardashian-esque booties.
But it was late in the day. I told an editor that I would look at the letters the very first thing this morning, and I headed out of the newsroom.
I made it as far as the elevator.
This was juicy stuff.
Before you could say illegal butt injections, I was back in my newsroom cubicle and ripping into the envelopes, all but salivating. Had the self-proclaimed "Michelangelo of buttocks injections" had a change of heart? Maybe Windslowe would provide fresh insight into what was on her mind as she sits in jail awaiting her June 11 sentencing. I downed a diet cola and started reading.
In the first envelope I opened was a copy of a "formal letter of appeal" dated March 11 in which Windslowe described elements of her case that didn't make it to court.
Bear with me now, because her writing isn't perfect.
She also wrote: " . . . I take full responsibility for the passing of Claudia, as I've always have since day one. Thus I no longer believe thes injections to be safe any one here on."
It gets better. She added: "After much listening to the doctors durring and through out my trial I am very aganst this procedure and all it could do to harm the human body."
Windslowe went on to write: "Thus I've founded The Black Ribbon foundation in Claudia's name to bring more awareness to the self esteem issues of today the truph for inner beauty as my mission to stop all silicone pumping into the human body for good."
Honey, grab your hair weave. The Black Madam has seen the light. Yeah, I'm being sarcastic. But, lest we forget in the sordid details of this case, a beautiful, young woman lost her life, thanks to Windslowe's illegal injections.
You may recall hearing about how 20-year-old Claudia Aderotimi flew here in 2011 from London to get some of Windslowe's back-alley booty shots. Last month, Windslowe was found guilty of third-degree murder in the British dancer's death.
Jurors also found Windslowe guilty of aggravated assault in the case of a stripper, Sherkeeia King, 23, on whom she worked at a February 2012 "pumping party." In addition, Windslowe faces sentencing on two counts of possession of an instrument of a crime, which refer to the needles used to illegally inject industrial-grade silicone into clients.
Two of the envelopes held petitions for leniency toward Windslowe submitted by another Riverside Correctional Facility inmate, Kahshima Morgan.
The fourth envelope contained paper labeled "ASSsets." On it, Windslowe described a variety of new "female body enhancement" devices that she apparently has dreamed up, such as the "Buttox Bra" which "gives you a great bubble butt look" and "The Platinum Waste Mangement" offering "fast and effective body sculpting."
It's a shame that girlfriend is looking at such a hefty prison sentence. Windslowe has a knack for marketing.
"Being born transgender," she continued, "I can relate, understand, and most of all empathize with many women insecurities of feeling not woman enough due to what it seems nature has forgotten. Seeing many other woman with full development, I've also many times felt less than and not my best potential."
And that, she wrote, is what got her into trouble.
I'm glad the courts reporter handed me those letters. For the first time, I understand where the Black Madam was coming from.
Like any woman, she wants to be beautiful and admired by the opposite sex. Unable to put cosmetic surgery on a credit card like some of my friends, she picked up a syringe and took matters into her own hands.
My heart goes out to her.
On Twitter: @JeniceArmstrong