SPOKANE, Wash. - It was a very difficult day in Superior Court Monday as prosecutors presented crime scene photos of how and where Donna Perry allegedly killed three Spokane women back in 1990.
Detectives say Perry fatally shot Yoland Sapp, Kathleen Brisbois, and Nickie Lowe during a killing spree that terrified people living and working along Sprague Avenue.
Survivors put up with their pain to get some answers and closure on something they've wondered and worried about for the past 27 years.
The families of all three victims appeared to be ready to endure this three week trial even though Monday they had to see some terrible pictures.
“They were acquaintances, they had bad circumstances, they made some bad choices, and they had bad addictions,” said Deputy Prosecutor Sharon Hedlund.
While it's true that all three of Donna Perry's alleged victims were killed working as prostitutes, prosecutors don't want that to minimize their value as human beings.
They were “women who were daughters, mothers, a grandmother, sisters, and friends,” said Hedlund.
And Monday, the jury heard from each of the victim's families as relatives introduced “in-life” photos of Sapp, Brisboise, and Lowe.
Unfortunately, the next photos that were introduced as evidence were from crime scenes, and came with testimony from retired detectives who recovered the victim's bodies.
The women were nude and posed in sexually suggestive positions.
“Their bodies were dumped like trash, each in their death was bared to the world at these sites,” said Hedlund. “There was no attempt to hide them and all were found within a day of their disappearance.”
Prosecutors are hoping the jury won't like Donny Perry, someone who underwent gender reassignment surgery nine years after the murders. But not because Perry is a transgendered person, but because of things she took from the victims after they were dead.
“Douglas Perry also had a home in Northeast Spokane. That home concealed secrets only a few were privy to,” said Hedlund.
Inside that home, inside a painted-over closet, detectives found women's underwear and their sizes suggest Perry took them home as trophies.
Perry's defense team said that while their client may have patronized the victims, he did nothing to hurt any of them.
In fact, at the time, Perry's girlfriend was also a prostitute and the jury will hear from her in the next two weeks of this trial.