A prosecutor announced murder charges Wednesday against a 34-year-old man in the slayings of four women whose deaths Detroit police have characterized as the work of a serial killer. Deangelo Martin is charged with four counts of first-degree murder and four counts of felony murder in the killings of the women whose bodies were found in abandoned houses in the city from March to June, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said at a news conference, per the AP. Martin, who was arrested in June, was already charged in the stabbing and sexual assault of a 26-year-old woman in May and the kidnapping and assault of a 51-year-old woman in June. Police Chief James Craig said he sees similarities between three of the slayings and the assaults of at least two other women who survived attacks. The slain women were all in their 40s and 50s.
According to police, Yvonne Cobern, 45, was killed June 10. The badly decomposed body of Tamara Jones, 55, was found June 5. The body of 53-year-old Trevesene Ellis was discovered May 24, while the body of Nancy Harrison, 52, was found March 19. Police have said they believe all the women were sex workers. Martin was initially arrested in June in the rape and attempted murder of a 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 hundreds of vacant buildings for more bodies. Six years ago, Detroit had at least 30,000 empty houses and 20 square miles of vacant land. Mayor Mike Duggan has said removing blighted houses is a priority in efforts to revive Detroit since its 2014 exit from the largest municipal bankruptcy in US history. (Florida police also think they've nabbed a serial killer.)