Deangelo Martin may be linked to the attacks of five women in Detroit's east side, police say

By Christine Pelisek
June 10, 2019 04:47 PM
Deangelo Martin, 34, of Detroit
| Credit: Detroit Police Department

A Detroit man suspected as a person of interest in the slayings of three sex workers has been charged with the non-fatal stabbing and sexual assault of a 26-year-old woman.

Deangelo Martin, 34, was arrested Friday in connection with the May 7 knife attack inside a house on Detroit’s east side. He has been charged with one count of assault with intent to murder, and four counts of criminal sexual conduct first degree.

Martin was arraigned in 36th District Court Monday and remanded to the Wayne County Jail where he is being held without bail. The court entered a plea of not guilty on his behalf.

A probable cause conference has been scheduled for June 20.

Police allege Martin is also suspected in the slayings of three sex workers in their 50s as well as the attempted murder of another woman in her 50s.

“We believe based on the work that is being done that this suspect is tied into all of these crimes,” Detroit Police Chief James Craig said at a press conference Monday.

Craig said the police department is “confident that he is connected to all of the cases.”

“If we hadn’t got him as quickly, I think he would have struck again,” Craig said.

Craig said the 26-year-old survivor’s age is the only “deviation from the pattern.”

Traveesene Ellis
| Credit: GoFundMe

The decomposing body of Nancy Harrison, 52, was discovered March 19 inside a vacant dwelling. Craig said initially the police department believed Harrison died of an overdose but on May 20, the Medical Examiner determined that she died as a result of blunt force trauma.

Four days after the coroner’s ruling, on May 24, Travesene Ellis, 53, was found dead inside a home on the east side.

A sex worker found the third unidentified victim last Wednesday.

All three women were found partially clothed or nude in various stages of decomposition when they were discovered in abandoned homes on the east side of Detroit.

Nancy Harrison
| Credit: Nancy Harrison/ Facebook

Craig said the medical examiner has yet to determine the causes of death for Ellis and the third unidentified victim.

Police say a fourth victim was attacked on June 7, but survived. Her attack happened in the same abandoned home where police discovered the third dead woman.

Harrison’s family members describe her as having “a great, great heart.”

“She would help anybody,” Tim and Gary Harrison told WDIV. “Do anything. My sister didn’t deserve this.”

During the Monday press conference, Craig said Martin was arrested at a bus stop on Detroit’s east side shortly after he was described as a person of interest in the case.

Craig is no stranger to serial killer investigations.

He was a vice officer in Los Angeles in the 1980s when the “Grim Sleeper” serial killer, Lonnie Franklin Jr. was prowling the streets of South Central.

“This was somebody we were looking for for a good part of time while I was in LA,” he says.

Franklin was eventually caught through familial DNA testing in 2010 and was sentenced to death for the murders of 10 women and the attempted murder of another for his 23-year killing spree.