June 3, 1996

Rob Lamberti

Palma keeps silent:
Triple-murder suspect likely back in T.O. Today

HALIFAX - Two Metro Police detectives expect to bring the man accused of the execution-style killings of three prostitutes back to Toronto today.

Barring any "unforeseen developments," Dets. Jim Ramer and Scott Bronson said yesterday that they'll leave Halifax this afternoon with Marcello Palma, the suspect in the Victoria Day gunshot slayings of the two transvestites and a female hooker.

Palma, 30, was captured by Halifax police Saturday night outside the downtown Sheraton Inn hotel four days after Metro Police announced they wanted him in connection with the slayings.

Palma surrendered without incident and was taken to a downtown station. He was transferred to the Halifax County Correctional Centre in Lower Sackville yesterday.

Palma, of Westdale Dr., North York, was spotted in Montreal before he arrived in Halifax, but police wouldn't say how or when he reached the East Coast.

Nova Scotia police are reviewing their missing-persons reports involving prostitutes to ensure there hasn't been any unsolved slaying similar to the ones in Metro.

Ramer and Bronson talked to Palma in his cell for only five minutes, but the suspect "exercised his privilege" of not saying anything, said Metro Police Acting-Insp. Mike Sale.

They obtained a warrant to search the second-floor Sheraton room, which Palma apparently had paid for with his American Express card. The hotel is in an area frequented at night by hookers and transvestites.

Palma had simultaneously booked a room at the nearby Twin Elms Hotel, again under his own name, the Canadian Press reports.

Credit card records

Palma, the separated father of a 15-month girl, is named on a Canada-wide warrant charging him with first-degree murder in the deaths of Shawn Keegan, 19; Thomas "Deanna" Wilkinson, 31, and Brenda Ludgate, 25, who were found murdered May 20. They were shot in the head with the same gun.

Halifax lawyer Joel Pink, acting on behalf of Palma's Toronto lawyer, Eddie Greenspan, said Palma won't be interviewed by police until he speaks with Greenspan. It's believed Metro Police were able to track Palma by following credit card and bank machine transactions.

The Halifax Daily News said a Sheraton chambermaid confronted a man behaving strangely in a room Saturday. She is said to have chased him out and grabbed him by the neck, but he pushed her off and fled.

More news about the murders ...

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Created: November 13, 1996
Last modified: November 18, 1996

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