National TV network airs documentary about Dayton Christmas killings

A local killing spree nearly 30 years ago continues to grab national attention, this time in a form of a documentary that will air again on Friday.

“Six Slays of Christmas,” a documentary about the 1992 Dayton Christmas killings, aired Tuesday as part of Oxygen’s Homicide for the Holidays series. It can be viewed online at their website and additional showings of the episode are scheduled for 11 p.m. Friday and noon Dec. 18.

The documentary tells about the murder rampage committed by four young people that left six people dead. The crimes shocked the public and devastated friends and family of the victims.

The documentary features local law enforcement and prosecutors who investigated and tried the case. Retired Dayton homicide detective Doyle Burke and retired Montgomery County Assistant Prosecutor James Levinson are among those interviewed.

Marvallous Keene, Heather Matthews, Demarcus Smith and Laura Taylor were convicted in the killings. They were accused in the deaths of Joseph Wilkerson, 34, Sarah Abraham, 38, Wendy Cottrill, 16, Marvin Washington, 18, Richmond Maddox, 19 and Danita Gullette, 18.

Danita’s sister, Rhonda Gullette, is featured in the documentary.

“I want to keep her memory alive,” Rhonda Gullette told the Dayton Daily News.

Danita, a mother of a two-year-old, was a complete stranger and was shot five times on Neal Avenue near a payphone. At least one account would later say she was shot for her Fila tennis shoes.

“I think it was a horrible thing that happened to her on Christmas Eve, and for some reason, it keeps living on and on and on,” Rhonda Gullette said. “Every year for 29 years, there has been something in the paper, something on tv or someone reaching out to me to speak.”

Rhonda Gullette said she was very close to her sister and believes her sister would want her to continue telling her story.

“It’s a story that’s touched people in and out of Dayton. It was an injustice; a young mother going to school and trying to make a life for herself and she was at the wrong place and the wrong time.”

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