A suspected serial killer has been charged with the murders of four middle-aged women who were all found dead in vacant homes in Detroit, prosecutors said Wednesday.
The first alleged murder victim of Deangelo Martin was 57-year-old Annetta Nelson, who was discovered face down on the floor with blood on her face in a vacant house in February 2018, according to the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office. Police found a used condom near her body, prosecutors said. Nelson's death was determined to be caused by blunt force trauma, prosecutors said.
On March 19, 2019, Nancy Harrison, 52, was found dead in another vacant house, prosecutors said. She was also face down with a used condom near her body, and her death was also ruled to be caused by blunt force trauma, prosecutors said.
Five days later, on March 24, Trevesene Willis, 55, was found dead in a vacant home; she was also face down with a used condom nearby, said prosecutors. Her cause and manner of death could not be determined due to the decomposition of her body, prosecutors said.
Then on June 5, Tamara Jones, 55, was found dead at a vacant house, also face down with a used condom near her body, said prosecutors. Her cause of death also couldn't be determined because her body had decomposed, prosecutors said.
The crimes "struck fear in our community," Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said at a news conference on Wednesday.
"We believe he is a serial killer," she said of 34-year-old Martin.
Detroit Police Chief James Craig said in June that Martin was a person of interest in the deaths of three women, all believed to be sex workers, found in vacant homes.
Craig on Wednesday did not confirm that Martin's alleged victims were sex workers, but he did say that the suspect focused on a "certain demographic."
"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 said.
"We truly want to make sure that we give each investigation the dignity and respect that it deserves," she said. "Some may feel that if you're involved in a certain profession -- and I'm not saying these women were ... that your life has less dignity ... but those of us in law enforcement do not feel that way at all."
Worthy would not comment on motive.
Martin was previously charged in July in two sexual assault cases for which he will appear in court on Friday, Worthy said.
Martin appeared in court on the new murder charges via video on Wednesday and not guilty pleas were entered on his behalf. He was held without bond and returns to court on Oct. 2.
Investigators are also looking at two other cases for possible homicide charges against Martin, Worthy said.