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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Donna Perry denies her role in 1990 slayings

A woman suspected of killing three prostitutes in 1990 when she lived as a man in Spokane denies she committed the homicides as a woman, but hedged during an interrogation about the guilt of the man she had been before a sex-change operation.

Donna Perry, 63, declined a first appearance in a Spokane courtroom Monday after being extradited from Texas, where she was being held on federal firearms charges. Perry, who was once known as Douglas Perry, has been connected by police to a string of slain prostitutes shot and left by the Spokane River in various degrees of undress between February and May 1990.

Perry’s attorney told a judge Monday she hadn’t been able to speak to her client. Her first appearance was rescheduled to today. When questioned by Spokane detectives, Perry said, “I’m not going to admit I killed anybody. I didn’t. Donna has killed nobody,” according to court documents. When a police detective said “Doug did,” Perry responded: “I don’t know if Doug did or not. It was 20 years ago and I have no idea whether he did or didn’t.”

At first, Perry declined to say whether she killed the three women when she was a man. She later denied Doug’s involvement, according to court records.

Spokane police detectives used DNA evidence found on items recovered from the dead women to link Perry to the crimes. A green blanket wrapped around the feet of Yolanda Sapp was submitted for testing, as were personal items in a pocketbook belonging to Nickie Lowe and fingernail clippings taken from the alleged third victim, Kathleen Brisbois. The clippings and pocketbook items returned positive for Perry’s DNA, according to court documents.

Perry’s criminal record includes arrests for assault, firearms violations and soliciting a prostitute in Spokane in 1989, according to court records. She received a sex-change operation on a trip to Thailand in 2000, according to investigators.

The ATF arrested Perry in March 2012 for illegally purchasing firearms and ammunition in Spokane as a convicted felon. She pleaded guilty in December 2012 and was sentenced to a little more than two years in federal prison, which she was serving in Fort Worth, Texas.

But a former cellmate told police last summer that Perry bragged of being a contract killer during her time in Fort Worth. Perry also told her that she’d killed nine prostitutes because she could not have children and the victims were “pond scum,” according to court documents.

Spokane police forwarded their recommendations to charge Perry with three counts of first-degree murder in November. Perry was booked into Spokane County Jail on Friday afternoon, according to records.