The Women Movement’s Embrace of Rape-Torturer Psychopath Donna Hylton
Via Twitter, on a Reddit forum, I stumbled over this horrifying story: Donna Hylton, a woman who spent time in prison for participating in the kidnapping, rape, murder, and ransoming of a gay man, spoke at the Women’s March as an advocate for women of color.
Vigliarole believed the three girls were prostitutes who were going to have sex with him. Instead, they picked him up on March 8 in Elmhurst, Queens, at Maria’s home, and drugged him to make him drowsy. Then they drove him to Selma’s apartment in Harlem. The apartment had already been prepared for an extended torture session: The closet door had been cut, a pot put in it for use as a toilet, the windows boarded.
For the next 15 to 20 days (police aren’t sure just when Vigliarole died), the man was starved, burned, beaten, and tortured. (Even 10 years later, Spurling could recall Rita’s chilling response when they questioned her about shoving a three-foot metal bar up Vigliarole’s rear: “He was a homo anyway.” How did she know? “When I stuck the bar up his rectum he wiggled.”)
The three girls took turns watching the man. It was Donna who delivered a ransom note and tape to a friend of Vigliarole’s, who was able to get a partial license plate number of the car she was driving. He notified the police, who traced the plate to a rental car facility. On April 6 the suspects were arrested, and detectives spent 36 hours straight interviewing the seven men and women. “We had to keep going back and forth and catch them in lies,” said Spurling. “It was a never-ending circle of lies.”
Spurling himself interviewed Donna: “I couldn’t believe this girl who was so intelligent and nice-looking could be so unemotional about what she was telling me she and her friends had done. They’d squeezed the victim’s testicles with a pair of pliers, beat him, burned him. Actually, I thought the judge’s sentence was lenient. Once a jailbird, always a jailbird.”
But there was another moment, on our second day together, when she slipped verbally, and said in an almost irritable way, “He [the victim] was going to die anyway, so . . .” and then she caught herself. I just looked at her. All her previous protestations that when arrested she’d had no idea Vigliarole was dead were clearly lies.
During this interview with the psychologist, Donna Hylton lied and said she was nowhere near the man who died. Evidence disputes this:
Once arrested, Hylton and her friends were put in a holding pen. “I told [the police] these people were going to kill my daughter, we had to find my daughter. I was having nightmares and couldn’t sleep. And it was in all the papers, and people would point to me and say. “There she is,’ like I was some kind of morbid overnight celebrity, the leader of this girl gang. When they told me the victim was dead I just broke down. I didn’t believe it. Look, I know I did something wrong, but I didn’t kill anybody and I didn’t want anybody killed. I wasn’t out for anything evil, maybe love, maybe acceptance.”
Hylton’s signed statement, and the recollections of Detective Spurling, tell a different story. “All the girls’s hairs were on the bedsheet they wrapped him in,” recalled Spurling, “so they were all on the bed with him, or maybe having sex with him.” Rita and Theresa recalled hearing Hylton reading the ransom statement, while Vigliarole’s captors held a knife to his throat and tried to force him to repeat it after them into a tape recorder. She was indeed sighted as the deliverer of the ransom note and tape. [Emphasis added.]
In retrospect, says Mel Paroff, law secretary to Judge Torres, “she was a secondary character, not a mastermind. She didn’t realize the gravity of what she was involved in.” Spurling agrees: “I don’t think the girls were hard-core. They thought they could use their beauty to get what they wanted.”
Donna Hylton has a website where she focuses on women’s issues and prison reform:
Donna Hylton is a women’s rights activist and criminal justice reform advocate. Donna speaks publicly about the issues facing incarcerated women and girls and the significant impact the significant increase in the female prison population is having on families, children and our communities.
She is quite beautiful, but more than beautiful–she has a hypnotic kind of sweetness that made it hard to concentrate on what she was saying. I preferred simply to watch her, as one might watch a monologist on an empty stage, lit by a single, bare bulb. “I don’t know why,” she’d said on that first visit, “but I keep feeling things are going to get better. It’s like a fairy tale. There’s going to be a happy-ever-after.” [Emphasis added.]
Psychopaths display different traits depending on their disorder, but common signs include superficial charm, a grandiose notion of self-worth, the need for stimulation and impulsiveness, pathological lying, the ability to manipulate others and a lack of remorse and empathy.Dec 31, 2015
She is a hypnotic beauty who also participated in the 20-day torture of a man and was an accessory to murder. She drove the ransom note. She never called police. She didn’t attempt to stop the inhumanity of what was happening.
And then, when interviewed about it, she lied.
At the Women’s March, there was no mention of the man who lost his life because of her actions. There was no humility–only defiance. Donna Hylton presented herself as a victim but did not mention her role as victimizer.