Some observers might say that Donna Perry has a lethal injection coming, but the serial killer of three Spokane women in 1990 would argue she has a thank you coming. Perry, who claims it was not her but her former male self, Douglas, who committed the murders, insists moreover that her elective sex reassignment surgery took a vicious killer off the streets. When someone goes from being male to female, she maintains, “there’s a great downturn in violence” and she had her sex change operation “as a permanent way to control” Douglas Perry’s violent urges.
According to Spokane ABC affiliate KXLY, Perry has been linked through DNA evidence to the murders of Yolanda Sapp, Kathleen Brisbois, and Nickie Lowe, all prostitutes. Perry — whose criminal history also includes charges of assault and illegal possession of firearms and explosives — was additionally charged with soliciting prostitutes in Spokane in 1989.
In 2012, Detectives Mark Burbridge and Jim Dresback interviewed Perry. Detective Burbridge told Perry that people who kill multiple victims usually don’t stop killing. He asked Perry why the killings stopped and she replied, “Douglas didn’t stop, Donna stopped it.” Perry told detectives that since the sex change, she is “paranoid and emotional but won’t hurt anybody.”
She went on to say, “I’m not going to admit I killed anybody, I didn’t. Donna has killed nobody.” Detective Burbridge replied, “Doug did.” And Perry said, “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.”
Prior to being returned to Spokane, Perry served time in a Texas prison on federal weapons charges. Burbridge and Dresback spoke with a former cellmate of Perry, who says Perry told her she was a contract killer and that had killed nine prostitutes. That woman further submits that Perry told her she killed the hookers “because she couldn’t breed and the women had the ability to have children and they were wasting it being ‘pond scum.'” That former cellmate says Perry admitted the murders took place in Washington.
An article about the case at ABC News quotes Jack Halberstam, a transgender and professor of American and gender studies at University of Southern California, as saying that Perry’s publicized statements are “very sketchy and a desperate defense ploy.”
It harkens back to the discourse on multiple personalities a decade ago — that another personality has taken over my body space. It’s an idea that we are simply competing personalities or selves. If you talk about transgenderism or psychopathology, nobody really believes that stuff. That research is now pretty much flawed.
Perry, Halberstam concluded, has a “weak defense.”
Perry is in Spokane County Jail, being held on $1,000,000 bond.