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Four Arrested in ‘Joy Killing’ Spree

December 29, 1992

DAYTON, Ohio (AP) _ Four robbers went on a three-day ″joy killing″ spree that left five people dead and four wounded, police said.

″Once they tasted blood they couldn’t stop,″ Sgt. George Hammann said.

Two adults and two juveniles were charged Monday with aggravated murder and robbery. They faced additional murder charges in court today.

Prosecutor Mathias Heck said he would seek the death penalty against Marvellous Keene, 19, and Heather Matthews, 20. He said he would seek to try Demarcus Smith, 17, and Laura Taylor, 16, as adults. That would mean they could get up to 25 years in life in prison if convicted. All four are from Dayton.

Authorities believe robbery was the original motive, but ″we think it turned into joy killing,″ Hammann said.

Ms. Matthews was a truant, a chronic runaway and a high-school dropout. She was released early from the Ohio Reformatory for Women at Marysville after serving six months of a one-year sentence for receiving stolen property.

″I thought she’d changed. I really did,″ said her mother, Debbie.

She said her daughter was a follower.

″Like the old saying goes, if somebody jumped off a bridge, she’d do it, too,″ she said.

The spree began Thursday, when an 18-year-old woman was fatally shot at a pay phone. Later, a man was shot four times outside a house but not seriously wounded, police said.

On Friday, another man was shot to death while sitting in his car. Two other people were wounded Saturday, one critically, during the attempted robbery of a convenience store.

The four were riding in a stolen car when they were arrested early Saturday. The car’s owner was found shot to death in his home.

The last two victims, Wendy Cottrill, 16, and Marvin Washington, 18, were found Sunday in a gravel dump on the city’s west side.

Police Chief James Newby said those two knew their assailants and probably were shot shortly before the four were arrested because ″they knew too much.″ He did not elaborate.

Details on the fourth wounding were not released.

Update hourly