Jury deliberates in transgender woman's murder trial

Donna Perry, previously known as Douglas Perry, faces three charges of first degree murder after being accused of killing three prostitutes more than 25 years ago.

SPOKANE, Wash. – Closing arguments began Tuesday morning in the trial of a transgender woman linked to three Spokane murders from 1990. After listening to the prosecution and defense, it is up to the jury to make a decision.

Donna Perry, previously known as Douglas Perry, faces three charges of first degree murder after being accused of killing three prostitutes more than 25 years ago.

In 1990, Yolanda Sapp, Kathleen Brisbois and Nickie Lowe were all found shot to death near the Spokane River just weeks apart. The cases were listed as unsolved homicides until 2012 when Perry was convicted in a Texas federal court for being a felon in possession of a firearm. Her DNA was entered into a national database and linked to the victims.

Perry’s Defense Attorney Bryan Whitaker argued the DNA match only proves Perry knew the women, not that she killed them. Prosecutor Sharon Hedlund said Donna Perry said she did not know these women, but investigators said they have evidence to tie her to each murder. Perry's defense countered, saying investigators were only looking for evidence that connected Donna Perry to the three murders.

The prosecutor recounted what Perry told detectives, “Douglas didn’t stop it, Donna stopped it… Donna hasn’t killed anyone.”

The defense argued detectives only looked for evidence that pointed to Perry and berated her until she said what they wanted to hear.

Hedlund also pointed out, "She (Donna Perry) stated she felt like she had to become a woman to stop the violence."

An inmate serving with Perry told investigators she believed Perry's sex change was an opportunity to portray herself as a little old lady. The inmate added that Perry had the operation to throw off suspicion because nobody would suspect a little old lady of doing these things. 

Hedlund also reminded the jury that the three women murdered were more than prostitutes; they were friends, sisters, and daughters loved by their families.

Whitaker told told the jury the prosecution spent three weeks of the jurors' lives not proving anything.

It is up to the Jury to decide whether or not Perry is guilty of these murders. They deliberated for a short time Tuesday afternoon and will continue deliberating Wednesday morning. 

© 2017 KREM-TV


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