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DONNA GENTILE: Murder of woman who feared harm because of testimony in California - 1985

Discussion in 'Cold Cases' started by Kimster, Apr 25, 2017.

  1. Kimster

    Kimster Director Staff Member

    Prostitute Taped Fears of Retaliation for Testimony
    July 06, 1985

    A woman whose nude body was found beaten and strangled in East San Diego County June 23 feared she would "disappear" because of her testimony against two San Diego police officers, according to a tape recording she made almost four months before her death.

    Donna Marie Gentile, 22, a prostitute involved in the firing of one police officer and the demotion of another, made the tape March 13, the day she went to the County Jail at Las Colinas after being convicted of soliciting for prostitution.

    "In case I disappear somewhere or is missing, I want my lawyer to give this to the press," Gentile said on the tape. "I have no intention of disappearing or going out of town without letting my lawyer know first. Because of the publicity that I have given a police scandal, this is the reason why I'm making this. . . . I feel someone in a uniform with a badge can still be a serious criminal.

    "This is the only life insurance that I have."

    About the same time, Gentile expressed her fears in a letter to her brother in Pennsylvania, Louis Gentile said in an interview Friday with The Times.


    SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Prostitute Donna Gentile’s autopsy will remain sealed, even though it's been more than 30 years since the police informant’s high-profile murder.

    Gentile, 22, was found naked, beaten and strangled off Sunrise Highway in 1985, five weeks after she implicated two San Diego Police officers in a prostitution scandal.

    Reports that the killer had stuffed gravel in Gentile's mouth led some to wonder if she was murdered because she talked.

    In her May 1985 testimony before the Civil Service Commission, Gentile said that SDPD officer Larry Avrech had been to her apartment on several occasions, and that the two had sexual contact.

    Avrech, at the time age 32, denied having sex with Gentile but he was fired from the police department nonetheless for giving Gentile inside information on vice raids.

    Gentile also testified about traveling to the Colorado River with SDPD Lieutenant Carl Black and another SDPD officer. Black was demoted to sergeant for contacting Gentile’s probation officer on her behalf.

    In December 2015, CBS News 8 requested the San Diego County Medical Examiner release Gentile’s autopsy under the California Public Records Act.

    The agency issued a denial letter, which said the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department wants to keep the autopsy sealed.


    On behalf of this day Dec 17 Violence Against Sex Workers I want to shed light on the many women in this country and the world that go without a voice. Without a voice to be heard, without a voice to see, without a voice to cry, without a voice to be understood, without a voice to be accepted, and without a voice in the grave. I speak today on behalf of a dear first cousin of mine ( Donna Gentile) a native Philadelphian, a young prostitute who was the first in the NHI project of women who went missing and was murdered in San Diego back in the 1980’s. Donna was murdered because she wanted to stand up and have her voice heard in a court room to prove her innocence. But Donna never got that chance to finish her prosecution against the San Diego police who troubled her life. Donna was a courageous and strong girl who believed in life and she wanted her voice heard in many ways. Donna was faced with challenges from early on in her family life which led her to run to the streets because her voice wasn’t heard at home. I today am a voice for Donna my cousin and all women who alive or dead want to be heard. So for a moment I want you to hear me loud and clear and honor the voice of an empowered woman channeling for all of those women who went unheard. -
    Anita DeFrancesco

  2. Jay

    Jay Well-Known Member

    :mad: Yet another deceased woman's story that begins with "if anything happens to me...". By sealing the autopsy, we will never hear her last words : "THIS IS WHAT HAPPENED TO ME".Donna died as she lived, powerless.
    Mel70, MissyMoo, Lily and 3 others like this.
  3. Kimster

    Kimster Director Staff Member

    I couldn't have said it better myself. When do we learn to take such comments seriously?
  4. GarAndMo49

    GarAndMo49 Not A Sheeple

    Hopefully, SOON...this is beyond overdue, IMO.
  5. SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

    SheWhoMustNotBeNamed Administrator Staff Member

    New book details evidence in unsolved 1985 murder of Donna Gentile

    There is new information in one of the most notorious, unsolved murders in San Diego county.

    A new book written by the victim’s first cousin details the 1985 murder of Donna Gentile.

    Author Anita Defrancesco wants to know if a San Diego Police officer killed Gentile, a prostitute who ran away to San Diego and worked El Cajon Boulevard in the 1980s.

    In June 1985, the 22-year-old’s naked body was found dumped off Sunrise Highway in the East County.

    “Personally, I feel law enforcement can be complicit in her murder,” said Defrancesco during an interview from her home in Philadelphia.

    Gentile died from strangulation and airway obstruction due to gravel being stuffed into her mouth and throat, court records show.

    “If someone is found with rocks stuffed in her their mouth it's symbolism of you're a snitch, you talked,” said Defrancesco.

    Gentile testified before the San Diego Civil Service Commission just five weeks before her murder.

    She talked about inappropriate relationships she had with two SDPD cops.

    Officer Larry Avrech and Lieutenant Carl Black denied the allegations at the time but both were fired in the wake of the scandal.

    Black appealed his dismissal and later was reinstated.

    “You have a girl who gets a lieutenant fired, a lieutenant is a big deal for a woman to get fired in 1985,” said Defrancesco.

    In her new book, The Donna Gentile Story, Defrancesco describes the events leading up to her cousin's murder and the resulting police investigation.

    There is new evidence in the book, including a letter Gentile wrote to her family from the Las Colinas jail in Santee two months before she was killed.

    "My life is in danger when I get out," the letter said, literally predicting her murder.

    MORE: http://www.cbs8.com/story/39645511/...ence-in-unsolved-1985-murder-of-donna-gentile
    GarAndMo49 and Kimster like this.
  6. Mel70

    Mel70 Bronze Member

    EXACTLY! And what good did the Tape do for Her, NOTHING! Put those responsible behind Bars, Held accountable, THEY WERE NAMED! NO DIDN'T HAPPEN! Just another Dead Prostitute that had to be SILENCED. That had the Courage to Stand up!
    GarAndMo49 likes this.

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