Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Capture of Serial Killer Arohn Kee

Parents Angry

Even as these parallel cases piled up, police made no public announcement that a serial rapist and murderer might be preying on teenage girls in East Harlem. The parents of the victims would later accuse both the police and the media of giving short-shrift to the casesdecisions, they said, that were based upon the victims' lack of status: ethnic minorities from a poor neighborhood. "It's because they're black and Hispanic," said Gregory Washington, Rasheeda's father. "It's because it's all above 96th Street. Let there be a white girl, and it's solved within days.'' His daughter's murder had rated four paragraphs in the New York Post. The New York Times had ignored it altogether.

It is a subjective exercise to try to compare media attention given to one case to that given another. But when Brian Watkins, a tourist from Utah, had been stabbed to death in a Manhattan subway on Sept. 2, 1990, his murder had been covered with hundreds of stories in the New York newspapers. When Paola Illera met a similar fate four months later, the Times published two stories.

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