Police’s ineffective measures in preventing DeAngelo Martin from continuing his serial killings

In this June 20, 2019, file photo DeAngelo Martin stands for a probable cause hearing, in Detroit. (Todd McInturf/Detroit News via AP, File)

“Understanding DeAngelo Martin’s Killing Spree: A Story of Tragic Failures and Missed Opportunities


DeAngelo Martin killed four women and raped two others over a 16-month span before he was captured. Only now, a year after Martin was sent to prison, is it clear that police failed repeatedly to follow up on leads or take investigative steps that may have averted the killing spree, despite receiving repeated warnings that Martin was a violent predator, an Associated Press investigation has found.

The Killings that Rocked Detroit

DeAngelo Martin lured four women in 2018 and 2019 into vacant homes and murdered them, leaving their nude or partially clothed corpses amid cheap booze pints, crumbling walls and hypodermic needles. The killings rattled Detroit, prompting authorities to dispatch crews on overtime to scour thousands of abandoned houses for more bodies. Police caught Martin in June 2019. He pleaded guilty in 2022 to killing four women and raping two others. He was sentenced last year to serve between 45 and 70 years in prison.

A Tragic Mindset

Martin’s first known murder victim was found in 2018, though police initially arrested the wrong man. DNA testing, completed in May 2018, linked the crime to Martin. Police officials told the AP that they sought to find Martin, but they did not seek a warrant to obtain his DNA to confirm the hit. In the months after the DNA hit, Martin had repeated unrelated contact with Detroit-area police officers. Martin was arrested numerous times but authorities in those jurisdictions did not alert Detroit police to their encounters with Martin because Detroit police never asked them to be on the lookout for a murder suspect, records show.

Frustration and Fury

Family members of the victims were irate upon learning about the police failures. Relatives of the victims said the 55-year-old Detroit woman would still be alive if police officers had done their jobs.

The Hard Truth

Detroit police acknowledged they could have better investigated Martin. An internal affairs report found that several officers had “neglected their duties.” Two officers were briefly suspended. An internal affairs supervisor summed it up as a “total systemic breakdown.” Police Commander Michael McGinnis, who led the homicide unit, said he wished his department had made a “more aggressive apprehension effort” after the first murder in 2018. “We learn from our mistakes and we resolve to do better,” said McGinnis.

In conclusion, the tragic story of DeAngelo Martin’s killing spree is one that demands accountability and a sobering rethink of how law enforcement agencies handle violent predators. Failure to act on critical leads and a lack of communication have resulted in the harrowing loss of innocent lives. The painful truth is that these women’s deaths could potentially have been prevented with timely and comprehensive investigations. It is essential to reflect on the errors and look toward a future where vulnerable individuals are better protected from harm. Shall we hope that the memory of these women will inspire systemic changes in law enforcement that will prevent similar tragedies in the future.”



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here