Denver Police Looking For Killer of HomelessAired January 5, 2000 - 2:27 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: In Denver, Colorado, authorities are investigating a string of murders. The common thread: all the victims were homeless.
CNN national correspondent Tony Clark has more on why the investigation is so difficult.
TONY CLARK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They sit in a circle in the park across from City Hall, some of Denver's 5,800 homeless. They do it not just for companionship, but also for safety.
JOHN PARVENSKY, COALITION FOR THE HOMELESS: When you have someone who's sleeping out by themselves, who may be drunk, who may be mentally ill, they're very vulnerable and easy targets.
CLARK: During the last four months, seven homeless men have been found beaten to death near downtown, others have been assaulted.
MICHAEL WOLFMULE, HOMELESS MAN: I guess because it is easy prey, it's like a sheep going into a flock of wolves and don't know where it's going, and it gets hit.
CLARK: Three suspects have been charged, but only in connection with one of the beating deaths. The six other murder case are still open.
SGT. TONY LOMBARD, DENVER POLICE: We're investigating each case separately, but we're looking at their connectivity. And believe me, there are a few things that we believe are connected.
CLARK: The Denver police set up a task force and a tip hotline to help solve the murders, but with few results.
LOMBARD: The witness part of it is probably the hardest for us, because you can interview a witness today and want to maybe reinterview them in a few days or a week and it's tough to find them again, so -- but it's something we'll overcome.
CLARK (on camera): Police are looking into the possibility that the murders were the result of a turf battle between the homeless, or possibly one or more killers passing through the city. But those who work with homeless, suspect something even more disturbing; a climate in which the homeless are considered non-persons and are beaten for thrills.
PARVENSKY: Well, unfortunately, we've kind of marginalized homeless people. You know, the cities are trying to sweep them under the rugs, you know, move them out of the parks, out of sight, and it's easy for someone to think, well, you know, they're not really people like us. We can take advantage of them.
CLARK (voice-over): So the homeless do what they can to protect themselves.
WOLFMULE: We stand together in a pack, and they protect each other. That's the only protection you've got. You step out and wander off, you could get -- it's nothing. There's no telling what could happen.
CLARK: Tony Clark, CNN, Denver.
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