Donna Perry is suspected of murdering three Spokane prostitutes back in 1990.
Detectives say Perry shot and killed Yolanda Sapp, Kathleen Brisbois, and Nickie Lowe during a serial killing spree that terrified people living and working along Sprague Avenue.
All three woman lived at the Spokane Street motel and also knew each other, and were fearful when one by one the victims fell prey to a killer specifically targeting prostitutes.
Unfortunately, these terribly drug addicted women needed money for rent and felt they had no choice but to work on Sprague Avenue where detectives say then Douglas Perry was waiting for them.
“Each were shot by a small caliber weapon, at least once in their center mass,” said Sharon Hedlund, Deputy Prosecutor. “Each was transported to the banks of the Spokane River in Northeast Spokane where their bodies were dumped like trash.”
Prosecutors say Douglas Perry even disgraced his alleged victims after their death, making no effort to conceal their nude remains.
Their lifestyle that involved getting into cars with a stranger made them easy targets and Perry wasn't considered a suspect for the next 22 years until DNA underneath one of the victim's fingernails matched Perry's.
By then, Perry had undergone gender reassignment surgery.
“And you'll hear during the course of this trial that Mr. Perry became Ms. Perry to end this type of violence,” said Hedlund.
Prosecutors contend Perry hated women until she became one, unhappy in her then male body.
Perry's attorneys concede there is DNA and a thumb print that links Perry to the victims but say it got there because Perry frequented prostitutes and had “date “ with some of the victims when his girlfriend was out of town.
“The evidence in this case will show at the time of these deaths, Ms. Perry was living with a prostitute and was involved in the community and then, more than two decades later, the state cherry picks evidence, tries to put Ms. Perry in the center of it, and make it all fit,” said Defense Attorney Pat Donahue.
Serial killer Robert Yates was considered a suspect in the 1990 murders until detectives confirmed Yates was stationed in Germany at the time of the homicides.
On the other hand, when detectives searched Perry's home, inside a painted-over closet, they found underwear and other things they think Perry took from these women as trophies after killing them.
Perry's trial will be three weeks long. More details to follow.