Suspected serial killer in court on sexual assault charges

George Hunter
The Detroit News
Deangelo Martin, center, appears in Detroit's 36th District Court for a probable cause hearing Thursday morning.

An accused serial killer was in Detroit's 36th District Court Thursday for a brief probable cause conference — his first appearance in a courtroom since his arrest two weeks ago.

Deangelo Martin is charged with four counts of criminal sexual conduct and assault with intent to murder in a case not connected to the killings of at least three women whose bodies were found in vacant houses on Detroit's east side.

Wayne County prosecutors say Martin sexually assaulted a 26-year-old woman who escaped her attacker. 

"On  May 7, 2019, at 1:40 a.m. at a house on the east side of Detroit it is alleged that Martin stabbed and sexually assaulted the (26-year-old) victim," a press release from the prosecutor's office said.

Martin, whose hands were cuffed in front of him, was silent during Thursday's four-minute hearing, other than to agree to waive his right to a preliminary examination within seven days of being charged. The exam is scheduled for July 16 before 36th District Judge E. Lynise Bryant.

The judge said prosecutors have "at least nine potential witnesses, and the submission of possible medical records" as evidence.

In addition to the sexual assault charges, Detroit police say Martin, 34, also is a suspect in the killings of three women whose bodies were arranged in kneeling positions, with used condoms left nearby, police sources told The Detroit News.

The first victim was found March 19 in an abandoned house on the 2000 block of Coventry. A second woman's body was discovered May 24 on the 13000 block of Linnhurst, about seven miles away. 

The victims were identified as Nancy Harrison, 52, and Travesene Ellis, 53. The third victim was identified as a 55-year-old woman, although they have not released her name.

After Thursday's hearing, Martin's attorney Wyatt Harris said his client is "in good health, and his demeanor is good."

When Harris was asked whether his client has admitted to the alleged sexual assaults and killings, he replied: "I can't tell you that."

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