Transgender woman's trial for murder of 3 prostitutes in 1990s begins

KREM 2's Lindsay Nadrich reports on the opening statements in the trial of Donna Perry. (6-9-17 at 4 p.m.)

SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash --- The trial of the transgender woman linked to three Spokane murders from 1990 began on Friday.

In 1990, three women, Yolanda Sapp, Kathleen Brisbois and Nickie Lowe were all found near the Spokane River nude or partially nude and shot to death just weeks apart. All three of the victims were prostitutes. Donna Perry, previously known as Douglas Perry, was originally not a suspect in these cases. Now she faces three first degree murder charges.

The cases were unsolved homicides until 2012 when Perry was convicted in Texas in a federal court for being a felon in possession of a firearm. Her DNA was entered into a national database and linked to the victims.

“The systems linked her DNA and her fingerprint to physical evidence that was recovered in the death investigations of Miss Sapp, Miss Lowe, and Miss Brisbois," said Sharon Hedlun, a Spokane prosecutor, on Friday.

Meanwhile, Perry's defense argued the DNA match only proves Perry knew the women, not that she killed them.

"The evidence in this case will not show that Miss Donna Perry killed anyone. What the evidence will show is that they found her DNA in her community and now they're trying to hang three old murders on her," said Pat Donahue, Perry's defense attorney. "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."

In her testimony Friday, Perry said if she had contact with these women it was on a date and she did not know them or kill them.

When she was in prison for firearm possession, an inmate came forward and said Perry bragged about killing women because they could have children and they were wasting it being “pond scum." This inmate is supposed to testify in the trial. The defense said those stories do not match up with the evidence.

This is a developing story and KREM 2 will continue to follow the trial as it continues.

© 2017 KREM-TV


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