Closing arguments made in Donna Perry trial

Closing arguments made in Donna Perry trial

A Spokane jury is trying to decide if major crimes detectives have arrested the right person in connection with a series of cold case murders that happened more than a quarter century ago.

Closing arguments were made in Spokane Superior Court Tuesday.

Prosecutors have been very careful not to disrespect Miss Perry in front of her jury, always referring to her by the gender she now identified with.

However, the gloves came off as the state used the sex change operation as proof of Perry’s guilt.

When Donna Perry was first arrested she denied murdering three women working as prostitutes.

Now, her defense attorneys concede there is DNA and a thumb print that links Perry to the victims but say that evidence got there because Perry frequented prostitutes when she was a man.

“The evidence in this case will show at the time of these deaths Miss Perry was living with a prostitute and involved in the community,” said Defense Attorney Pat Donahue. “Then, more than two decades later, the state cherry picks evidence, tries to put Miss Perry in the center of it and make it all fit.”

Tuesday, prosecutors claimed that two of the three women were killed when Perry’s girlfriend, who was also a prostitute, was in jail. And that Perry robbed the victims to raise money to bond her out.

The state also claims that Perry changed her gender to avoid suspicion.

“She stated that she felt like she had to become a woman to stop the violence and that’s why she went through the sex change,” said Deputy Prosecutor Sharon Hedlund. “She gelded herself like you would a farm animal.”

Perry’s attorneys did not call any witnesses and Perry did not take the stand in her own defense.

Prosecutors say Perry killed the victims and further degraded them after they were dead because Perry was jealous of their ability ot have children.

“Each of their bodies were left displayed on the banks of the Spokane River in Northeast Spokane. They were either naked or their breast and genitals were otherwise, purposefully, exposed,” said Hedlund.

Perry’s jury went home Tuesday afternoon without reaching a verdict.

Prosecutors are also asking the panel to find the existence of an aggravating factor, in that these murders were part of a common scheme or plan.

That finding could increase Perry’s punishment.