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Women March in Boston, Protest Roxbury Killings

By Cheryl R. Devall

Nearly 500 people gathered at Boston Common Saturday morning to protest the recent series of murders of young women committed in the Roxbury-Dorchester area since last January.

Two more women were discovered murdered this weekend in the area, bringing the number up to nine.

Boston police arrested this weekend the main suspect in the first two of these murders.

Lois H. Nesbitt, aged 31, died Friday apparently from strangulation. A neighbor discovered Nesbitt shortly before noon in the bedroom of her Codman Park apartment. Police arrested Richard Strother, aged 31, in connection with the murder Saturday.

Murders Unrelated

Saturday morning 18-year-old Faye Polner, of Newton, Mass. was found in a parked car behind the Joseph E. Lee School in Dorchester. The murder of Polner, who is white, is apparently unrelated to those of the other eight black women, police investigators said Saturday. Police also believe the first eight slayings are unrelated.

As a predominantly female crowd gathered near the State House to protest the murders, news of the ninth murder was released and a hush fell over the assembly. Many women angrily changed the number of killings listed on their placards.

The crowd marched from the Common to Mayor Kevin White's home in Mount Vernon Square off Charles St. While the demonstrators remained silent during most of the walk, they took up the chant "No More Murders" as they picked on the sidewalk outside White's house. White had left Boston for the weekend and was not at home during the demonstration.

The marchers stopped in front of the house and observed a moment of silence "to commemorate the spirits of the nine women," at the request of a spokesman from Crisis, the group which organized the rally Friday night.

The women of Crisis, a group organized in the wake of murders earlier this year, refused to identify themselves to the media. Shortly after one spokesman had appeared on the Channel 7 "Black News" program several weeks ago, she was allegedly attacked outside the door of her South End apartment by two white men. This women told the demonstrators Saturday, "Remember that what comes for me in the morning will come for you at night."

Call for Self-Defense

A woman from the Combahee River Collective, a black feminist group, called for the women at the rally to defend themselves and to tell their friends to do the same. "We don't have to fight this battle in ones and tens, but in thousands and tens of thousands. We will fight back!" the spokesman, who also asked to remain unidentified, said.

New York City police Thursday arrested Dennis Porter, aged 24, on a burglary charge. Porter is the prime suspect in two of the other murders.

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