A taskforce of FBI agents and Distict of Columbia police officers investigating a series of murders of women in the Petworth area of D.C. withheld vital information about the crimes resulting in the spread of false information concerning the killings.
Petworth residents were told on several occasions that the murder victims had not been raped, even though officials were aware that the last women showed evidence of violent sexual assault. Also, police officials insisted that the most recent victim, Dana Hill, killed in early December, 1997, was an isolated incident unrelated to the previous murders, despite the fact that investigators believed otherwise as early as one week after her murder.
Rev. Anthony Moore, a Petworth-area pastor, said “It is one thing if they said we cannot give that information out because it’s crucial to the investigation. But to say to the public that these people were not sexually assaulted is an outright lie, and it was deceptive to the community.”
Petworth, an area where middle-class blacks once lived, is now a community plagued by drug abuse. Residents have complained for years about crack houses and prostitution. Many believe that the murder victims’ involvement in drugs and possible prostitution for drug money led to poor police response. One police officer reportedly referred to the murdered women as “crack whores” at a community meeting.
Darryl Donnell Turner, a seven-year resident of Priceton Place from North Carolina, has been charged with the last two murders in the case and is currently being held without bail. The government’s preliminary case against Turner revealed that officials expect to charge Turner with additional deaths.
A former girlfriend of Turner’s reported that Turner had sexually assaulted her on January 25, 1998. She did not come forward until after she heard of Turner’s arrest because she feared that police would not believe her because of her lifestyle, which she said was similar to those led by the murdered women.