Suspected transgender serial killer Donna Perry is expected to claim that the murders she is accused of committing would have been carried out when she was a man and her current identity shouldn’t be held responsible for the violence she may have inflicted back then.
Perry, 62, used to go by the name of Douglas Perry and is accused of murdering Yolanda Sapp, Nickie Lowe and Kathleen Brisbois more than 20 years ago in Spokane, Wash., the Spokane Spokesman-Review reported Wednesday. Perry, who had gender reassignment surgery in Thailand in 2000, claims she had the operation in part “as a permanent way to control violence.”
When interviewed by detectives about the murders in 2012, Perry denied committing the killings as Donna and was unsure whether she murdered the three women as Douglas, that is, while she was still a man.
"I'm not going to admit I killed anybody, I didn't. Donna has killed nobody,” Perry said, according to Spokane television station KXLY. “I don't know if Doug did or not, it was 20 years ago and I have no idea whether he did or did not."
Perry refused to come to court on Monday and had her bail set at $1 million Tuesday, the Spokesman-Review reported.
Prosecutors believe they have a strong case against Perry, citing DNA evidence and fingerprints they say connect the suspected transgender serial killer to the murders, according to KXLY. Investigators said they believed the three victims were working as prostitutes at the times of their deaths.
Detectives also recovered a vehicle they said Perry was driving at the time of the killings and that a .22-caliber cartridge was found under the front passenger door mat. They said the cartridge matched the bullets recovered from the victims.
Besides physical evidence, detectives also said that Perry allegedly confessed to the murders to her old cell mate when she was doing time in Texas. Perry allegedly claimed to be a hitman and murdered nine prostitutes “because she couldn't breed and the women had the ability to have children and they were wasting it being 'pond scum,'” according to KXLY.
Perry’s view on her case -- that she can’t be held responsible for things she may have done as another gender -- is not necessarily the same way other transgender people feel about their old identities, according to New York City psychiatrist Dr. Jack Drescher, who helped shape how his field diagnoses gender identity disorders.
"For some people, it's a metaphor: 'I was a different person before I came out,'" Drescher told ABC News. “It's a certain way that they use the metaphor when transitioning for those who were very unhappy before and now are happy. But it's different when a person makes a claim that somehow they have no linkage to the person they used to be –- that would be more of a disturbed presentation."