Police in Detroit believe they’ve nabbed a serial sex killer who’s been targeting women in their 50s, discarding of their corpses in vacant houses across Detroit and leaving his used condoms behind.
Deangelo Martin, 34, has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder and four counts of third-degree sexual assault, according to prosecutors.
The brutal killings "struck fear in our community," prosecutor Kym Worthy said at a news conference on Wednesday, according to ABC News. "We believe he is a serial killer," she added.
ABC News reported that all the women may have been sex workers, though the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office was unable to confirm this. While speaking to the press, however, police acknowledged that Martin appeared to have preyed on "certain demographic."
"We are confident that this defendant’s alleged criminal and predatory actions link him to all four of these homicides, as well as the two sexual assault cases that we charged him with previously,” Worthy said in a prepared statement emailed to Oxygen.com.
“The details will be presented in court, and we will continue to pursue any and all evidence that may connect him to further crimes," the Wayne County prosecutor added.
Police suspect that Martin began killing in February 2018. His first alleged victim was 57-year-old Annetta Nelson, who was discovered face down on the floor in a vacant house on Winthrop Street, covered in blood. Police found a used condom at the empty property. A medical examiner said the woman had died from “blunt force trauma.”
A year later, a Detroit man entered another vacant home in east Detroit to smoke marijuana. Instead, he accidentally stumbled across a woman’s corpse, face down with a used condom nearby. The woman, later identified as 52-year-old Nancy Harrison, had also died from blunt force trauma.
Five days later, police uncovered 55-year-old Trevesene Ellis’s badly decomposed body in another abandoned property with the same trademarks as the earlier slayings.
Tamara Jones, 55, was found in a vacant home in June; she was the last identified victim believed to be Martin’s. Police were unable to determine the manner of death because her body, too, was so badly decomposed.
Prosecutors said that Martin had previously been charged this summer in two other sexual assault cases — and they suspect he’s behind other killings.
“The police are currently investigating two other possible homicides, where Deangelo Martin is a person of interest,” Maria Miller, an assistant prosecuting attorney for Wayne County, told Oxygen.com.
Police did not comment on a possible motive behind the killings.
"We worked tirelessly to make sure that we can bring some modicum of justice, of respect and of dignity — no matter what they engaged in before, during and after they were reported missing," Worthy, the Wayne County prosecutor, said.
Martin was arraigned on Wednesday, and not guilty pleas were entered for him, according to ABC News. His next court date is scheduled for Oct. 2. He’s being held at the Andrew C. Baird Detention Facility, according to online jail records.
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