Chilling new details have emerged in the case of a suspected Detroit serial killer accused of murdering four sex workers, including allegations that he left the victims’ socks as his calling card and staged their bodies in the same position.
Deangelo Martin, 35, appeared in court on Thursday for a preliminary hearing, which concluded with a judge ruling to move the cases against the defendant forward.
Martin is charged with four counts of first-degree murder and four counts of felony murder in the killings of the women – all sex workers in their 50s – whose bodies were found in abandoned houses in different parts of Detroit as far back as February 2018.
The victims have been identified as Annetta Nelson, 57, whose body was found on February 26, 2018; Nancy Harrison, 52, who was discovered March 19, 2019; Trevesene Ellis, 55, was found March 24; and Tamara Jones, 55, who was found June 5.
Martin was previously charged in the stabbing and sexual assault of 26-year-old woman in May 2019 and the of a 51-year-old woman in June.
During last week’s hearing, prosecutors said that in each case, Martin left behind a ‘calling card’ by leaving a victim’s sock on and positioning each body face down with one leg up, reported ClickOnDetroit.
The court also heard from a woman who described herself as Martin’s ex-girlfriend who met him while working as a prostitute and using crack-cocaine.
She told the judge the defendant had sexually assaulted her in the past, reported Fox 2 Detroit. She also claimed to have visited the house where Harrison’s body was found.
All the victims were found in abandoned homes with a used condom containing Martin’s DNA beside them, according to the prosecution.
Martin’s attorney sought to downplay the significance of the physical evidence and asked to drop all charges against him, but Judge Kenneth King denied the motion to dismiss and bound the defendant over for trial on all counts.
King said his decision to send the case to trial hinged to a large degree on the signature pattern in all four murder cases.
A coroner determined that Nelson and Harrison died of blunt force trauma, but the cause of death for the other two couldn’t be determined because their bodies were too badly decomposed.
Social media rumors started circulating in May 2019 that there was a serial killer in downtown Detroit, but police quashed them at the time, saying, ‘this is not true’.
Martin was initially arrested in June 2019 in the rape and attempted murder of a 26-year-old woman who was able to escape the attack. At that point, police had already uncovered three homicide victims, and teams of police officers and other city workers were searching for more bodies.
‘I think it’s pretty clear that we believe he is a serial killer,’ Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said in announcing murder charges against Martin in September.