by Convicted Hotel Killer Donald Piper & Attorney Christopher A. Johnston
In what was his first, and only, prison interview, twice convicted hotel killer Donald Piper recently shared some of his own hotel safety tips with hospitality attorney Christopher A. Johnston.
Mr. Piper was first convicted in 2000 for the 1993 homicide of Patricia Lange who was murdered in room 732 at the University Park Holiday Inn in West Des Moines, Iowa where he had previously been employed as the Chief Engineer.
Mr. Piper was then convicted, later in 2000, for the 1997 homicide of Zurijeta Sakanovic while she was working as a maid at the Budgetel in Clive, Iowa.
Reached at the Fort Madison (Iowa) Maximum Security Penitentiary, Mr. Piper agreed to an in-person interview with attorney Christopher A. Johnston. In the interview, Mr. Piper provided what he believes to be a few of the most important things hotel guests can and should do to help protect themselves while travelling. Mr. Piper, who continues to steadfastly claim innocence for these crimes, willingly provided this information with the hope that even just one person might benefit.
The tips Mr. Piper provided are:
1. When a couple is travelling together, they should stay together.
2. Never leave your hotel key in view if it has the room number or hotel name on it.
3. When you begin the check-in process, tell the desk clerk not to say your room number.
4. Ask the front desk whether the hotel video cameras are real or “dummy cameras”.
5. If travelling alone, never prop your door open for any reason such as getting ice.
6. Park as close to the hotel doors as possible.
7. Request a room near the front desk.