By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
Shepard says that DNA evidence now possibly links two of the Southside Slayer victims with two suspects who are currently in custody on unrelated charges. Whether either one will ever be charged depends on the results of months, possibly years of investigation.
“Not all of our evidence has been processed in the ’80s cases,” says Shepard. “We are looking at all the different murders. We don’t know if we have a serial or individual murders.”
The most recent victim linked to the ’80s shootings is 35-year-old Valerie McCorvey, who was found strangled in an alley near Figueroa Street in 2003. She was sexually assaulted. Originally, the detectives involved in the case believed that her ex-boyfriend was responsible.
“Indications are that detectives made an error,” says Shepard, who picked up the case in 2004. They tried to file charges against him because he was less than truthful. Adds Shepard: “Physical evidence points to someone else.”
In 2004, DNA evidence found on McCorvey was linked to ’80s shooting victim Lowe as well as Princess Berthomieux. In 2005, the lab matched Sparks’ DNA to the other victims.
Inglewood’s Detective Steinhoff said he and Shepard compared notes on the cases. He found out then that the bullets found in Sparks and Lowe matched those found at the crime scenes of Jackson, Wright, Steele, Ware, Jefferson and Alexander in the 1980s.
he uncertainty of whether police will ever crack a homicide case weighs heavily on family members. Mary Taylor remembers her niece, Valerie McCorvey, and how she never finished high school. By the time McCorvey hit her late teens, she had picked up a drug habit. She would enter into rehab, but permanent sobriety eluded her. She would find work for a while and once even got a job helping addicts get off drugs, but her addiction proved too powerful, and she would find herself back on the street. Her hangout was Figueroa Street.
“We couldn’t stop her,” says Taylor from her home in Inglewood. “Her parents were divorced, but she was close to her father. She wasn’t neglected. I would tell her that she would need to get her life together. Once she said she would get her life together.”
Taylor heard from her niece periodically over the years. McCorvey would leave her aunt short messages on her answering machine to let her know that she was fine. But she would never leave a phone number.
The last time Taylor heard from her niece was around March 2003. Four months later, McCorvey, 35, was found dead by a school crossing guard near an alley on Denver Avenue in South Los Angeles. The modest residential street where her body was found was just one block away from Figueroa Street. She was wearing a blue leotard and brown pants. Her death on July 11, 2003, garnered no attention from the local press, and after three initial visits from homicide detectives, Taylor never heard from them again.
“Honestly, I think the police have dropped the ball,” Taylor says with a shrug. “For a while I was disillusioned; then I realized I just had to go on. I would be just stuck on that hill.”
The grieving process has taught her painful lessons. “There are people out there with no heart. It is a different feeling when someone is murdered. If the person is sick, you think this could happen. When it is a murder, you have no control. No chance to say goodbye.”
For now, Detective Steinhoff waits for the results of the DNA test on his suspect, Hausmann, who has grown annoyed at all of the questions. “I haven't killed anyone. It is called intimidation.”
Find everything you're looking for in your city
Find the best happy hour deals in your city
Get today's exclusive deals at savings of anywhere from 50-90%
Check out the hottest list of places and things to do around your city