SPOKANE, Wash. - A woman suspected of killing three Spokane women in 1990 is back in the Spokane County Jail, but declined to make her court appearance on three murder charges Monday afternoon.
For the first time, we're hearing details about why Donna Perry, who was a man named Douglas Perry at the time of the murders, says she didn't kill the women and how her sex change operation will likely play a role in her defense.
New court documents reveal how detectives linked Perry to the murders of Yolanda Sapp, Kathleen Brisbois and Nickie Lowe. Perry was finally linked to the crimes through DNA and was just returned to Spokane after serving time in prison on federal weapons charges.
Perry had gender reassignment surgery in Thailand in 2000. She told detectives in 2012 that when someone goes from being male to being female "there's a great downturn in violence" and that she had a sex change operation "as a permanent way to control violence."
Detectives used DNA and fingerprints to link Perry to the murders. Perry's criminal history includes assault, firearms and explosives charges. Perry was also charged with soliciting prostitutes in Spokane in 1989. Detectives believe all three of the murder victims were working as prostitutes at the time of their deaths.
In 2012, Detectives Mark Burbridge and Jim Dresback interviewed Perry. Detective Burbridge told Perry that people who kill multiple victims usually don't stop killing. He asked Perry why the killings stopped and she replied, "Douglas didn't stop, Donna stopped it." Perry told detectives that since the sex change, she is "paranoid and emotional but won't hurt anybody."
She went on to say, "I'm not going to admit I killed anybody, I didn't. Donna has killed nobody." Detective Burbridge replied, "Doug did." And Perry said, "I don't know if Doug did or not, it was 20 years ago and I have no idea whether he did or did not."
In addition to linking Perry to the murders with DNA and fingerprints, detectives also recovered the 1969 International Scout Perry was driving at the time if the murders. In it, they found a .22 caliber cartridge under the front passenger floor mat. It matched the victim's wounds and bullets recovered from the victims.
Finally, Detectives Burbridge and Dresback interviewed a former cell mate of Perry's from Texas. She says Perry told her she was a contract killer and that she had killed nine prostitutes. That woman says Perry told her she killed them "because she couldn't breed and the women had the ability to have children and they were wasting it being 'pond scum.'" That former cellmate says Perry admitted the murders took place in Washington and "Spokane was hot."
Perry is in the Spokane County Jail, being held on $1,000,000 bond. She was supposed to make her first appearance Monday, but declined. The judge says the court will try again Tuesday.