A 29-year-old woman was found stabbed to death early yesterday in Patterson Park, one of three killings in the 155-acre expanse in the past six years.
Police said a man walking in the park about 80 feet east of South Patterson Park Avenue and Gough Street discovered the partly clothed body about 3:30 a.m.
Homicide Detective Homer Pennington said that the woman, identified as Hasana K. Wilkerson of no fixed address, had been stabbed in the upper body and that officers found a knife nearby.
Killings are uncommon in the park, which several years ago had a reputation as dangerous and a haven for prostitutes.
Though the sex trade remains residents' biggest complaint, those who live nearby said the park is now an urban sanctuary that draws dog walkers from Canton and Butchers Hill, and was packed two weeks ago with youngsters for a fishing contest.
"The park is really becoming an asset," said Drew Fuller, 34, of the 400 block of S. Patterson Park Ave.
The last killing in Patterson Park occurred in October. Police said Gerald Lewis Yelity, 30, robbed a man of a necklace, then died in a scuffle with the victim and witnesses.
In 1995, Arcadio Guerra, a 46-year-old cook at a Little Italy restaurant, was shot while walking late at night in the park.