SPOKANE, Wash. - A suspected Spokane serial killer is gearing up to prove she's not responsible for a trio of fatal shootings that claimed the lives of three women in 1990.
Donna Perry, who was a man when the crimes were committed, is accused of murdering Yolanda Sapp, Kathleen Brisbois, and Nickie Lowe, and then dumping their bodies along the Spokane River.
Now, Perry is fighting in court, hoping to not spend the rest of her life in prison.
Long before anyone had ever heard of Robert Yates, there was another serial killer preying on Spokane prostitutes. The women would be sexually assaulted, shot in the head, and then dumped over an embankment.
23 years later, Spokane Sheriff's detectives identified the person allegedly responsible.
Donna Perry, 64, underwent gender reassignment surgery in 2000. Detectives say when Perry was still a man, he killed three Spokane prostitutes.
Brisbois was found near Trent and Pines where investigators saw signs of a struggle. 15 years later, Brisbois' fingernails were resubmitted to the state patrol crime lab where forensic scientists had gotten a lot better at extracting then comparing DNA samples.
"Low and behold, a few years later, there was a matching profile with Donna Perry, which has obviously led to charges for these three women," said Spokane County Sheriff's Deputy Craig Chamberlin.
When those charges were filed, Perry was just seven days shy of walking away from a Texas prison where she was doing time on an unrelated firearms charge.
Instead, Perry was transferred to the Spokane County Jail where she denied killing anyone. However, detectives' physical evidence link Perry to all three victims.
"With the evidence that was submitted, there were fingerprints located on a bottle of lubricant that was in Nickie Lowe's purse which matched Donna Perry's," said Deputy Chamberlin.
Also, a blanker was submitted that was in Yolanda's Sapp's property. DNA was found in that blanket that also matched that of Donna Perry.
Perry's new defense attorneys say there are no DNA match ups and the bottle of lubricant was found in a dumpster, not Lowe's purse.
But, Thursday in court they lost their bid to suppress statements Perry made to investigators, including when they asked Perry why the 1990 killings suddenly stopped. Perry told them "Douglas didn't stop. Donna stopped it."
Of course, "Douglas" was Perry's first name before she underwent gender reassignment.
Perry has previously said she changed her gender to stop violence toward women.
A Spokane jury now slated to hear the case against Perry when her trial gets underway next June.