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Subject: Drag queen pleads guilty in silicone pumping death in Georgia

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Date Posted: 02/ 5/05 2:48:10am

Drag queen pleads guilty in silicone pumping death in Georgia

Associated Press
Posted February 4 2005, 10:47 AM EST

ALBANY, Ga. -- A transvestite who pumped industrial silicone into other men to give them feminine features pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of a man who suffered complications.

Stephen Thomas, 31, will serve five years in prison and the remaining 10 years of his sentence on probation under the plea he entered in court Monday.

Prosecutors decided a plea of felony involuntary manslaughter was appropriate because those involved were willing participants and there was no intent to kill, Chief Assistant District Attorney Greg Edwards said Friday.

The death of Andre Geter in December 2003 threw a spotlight on ``pumping,'' a thriving underground practice among men living as women, particularly those who compete in beauty pageants and perform in drag shows.

While medical-grade silicone is sealed to prevent leaks and is sterile, the industrial version is not and can cause infections. The silicone sealer that Thomas used on Geter is available in hardware stores.

Geter, 23, of Montgomery, Ala., suffered convulsions and fell unconscious after receiving injections in the hips and buttocks during a ``pumping party'' in Albany. He died of blood poisoning a month later.

Three other people await trial on conspiracy charges.

Edwards said the three men provided rides to the pumping parties and handed Thomas instruments during the procedures. In return, Thomas, who charged $300 to $400 for the injections, gave them free injections, the prosecutor said.

Experts say the silicone is often mixed with paraffin, oil, even peanut butter.

But in Geter's case, it was probably mixed with baby oil, based on how it smelled to others who received the injections, said James Paulk, an investigator with the Dougherty County District Attorney's Office.

There was so much silicone in Geter's body that when incisions were made during the autopsy, a clear, brownish liquid flowed out, Paulk said.

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