Coroner: Illicit silicone injection killed woman
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A black-market silicone injection killed a transgender woman earlier this year, the Orleans Parish coroner's office says.
On Friday, the office ruled that the New Year's Day death of 25-year-old Brenisha Hall was a homicide.
Hall died at Interim LSU Hospital in New Orleans, after two months in a coma. Doctors there originally ruled that Hall had died of natural causes, but the coroner's office re-examined the case.
The coroner's chief investigator, John Gagliano, said Friday that the injected chemicals migrated into various parts of Hall's body, including her brain, and was responsible for her death.
Gagliano said that the coroner's office reviewed thousands of pages of medical records, re-examining the results of the initial autopsy at the hospital and performing further examinations.
"The pathologist took a lot of things into consideration," he said.
Another transgender woman, Armani Nicole Davenport, is accused of giving Hall the injection.
Davenport was arrested in November and charged with negligent injuring, and was booked into jail as Larry Bernard. Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office records say she remains free on a $25,000 bond. A New Orleans Police Department spokesman says detectives are considering whether to upgrade the charge.
It was not immediately clear whether Davenport has an attorney.
Hall, whose birth name was Brad, was hospitalized Oct. 24. She was brought to the hospital in critical condition after having her hips and buttocks injected with a silicone substance that her family might have been Fix-A-Flat. She later went into a coma.
While she showed some signs of improvement as she underwent various treatments, her body shut down Jan. 1.
"It was devastating. It was hard," Lessie Hall said of her child's death. "I never thought he was going to die, but he was real, real weak." She always referred to her child as a man, though he wanted to be thought of as a woman.
Tela Love, an advocate for the transgender community, knew Hall well.
"Bree was desperate just like we all are desperate to embrace our femininity and to embody womanhood," Love said.