Howard Miles Parker Killed at least 10 women and maybe more that were never reported missing. His victims were prostitutes and drug addicts who mostly lived on the streets. One victim got away and was able to identify him when Parker was finally arrested. There were no leads until his son was convicted of burglary and his DNA went into the database.
In a three mile area in Chicago, Howard Miles Parker killed at least ten women between the years 1988 and 2002. LAPD got nowhere with the investigation as leads disappeared into thin air. Relatives of the victims accused the police of dragging their feet because the victims were poor black women. Many lived on the streets and were drug addicts and prostitutes.
Detectives were overwhelmed. From 1985 to 1988 seven women were shot in the left side by what police determined to be the same gun. They were dumped in dumpsters or trash piles within a 3 mile radius. Most of the murdered women had dried saliva on their breasts but Lilly Downs had semen in her mouth. She was found under a pile of rubble with only a hand sticking out. DNA was not available at the time, but the evidence was dried, frozen and stored.
In 1988 a man pulled up beside Lulu Watkins as she was walking to the post office and offered her a ride. She hesitated but finally got into the car and was shot in the left side. Watkins said she remembered hearing loud music but doesn’t recall the gunshot. She passed out and came to when he was taking pictures of her. She was able to open the door and leap out of the car. Watkins was the only victim to survive. She was the only one who could give the police a description of the suspect, and it wasn’t until 14 years later, in 2007, that other bodies of young black women were found in the same area. That’s when police realized the killer was back.
A task force was set up to track down the serial killer. His victims now numbered 10. The preserved samples of saliva and semen could now be checked against the DNA database, but his DNA was registered nowhere in the system. Vice cops picked up men of that age who approached young girls in the area and took their DNA but nothing panned out. They kept coming back to the murderers DNA, which was their only evidence. They had the profile but no name or face to go with it. No two people have the same DNA other than identical twins and they might have some differences, but family members have close similarities.
Family DNA searches are not fool proof but authorities went ahead with it at a cost of $500,000 The DNA was entered into the data base. Finally in 2008 they got a hit. A young man named Morris Parker was arrested and convicted on burglary charges. He was too young to be the killer but his father was the right age and had not been out of the country or in jail during the time of the murders. Cops were watching, biding their time, and the time came when Howard Parker threw a cigarette butt down on the street. It was a close match to his son’s DNA. When police arived at his house, Parker did not resist arrest.
He was charged with ten counts of murder and one attempted murder. Police searched the house and found the gun used to kill the victims in a bedroom. In an out building they found thousands of pictures of women, many of them passed out and naked. Parker pleaded not guilty, his lawyer Chasity Bellem says the defense will question the DNA aggressively. The unbelievable thing is his wife stands by him and visits him in prison.
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