Jury Convicts Los Angeles Man Of Murdering 10 Women, Fetus; Could Get Death Penalty
Monday, April 30th 2007, 8:15 pm
News On 6
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A former pizza deliveryman described by prosecutors as one of the city's most prolific serial killers was convicted Monday of murdering 10 women and one victim's fetus in the 1980s and '90s.
The jury also found Chester D. Turner guilty of the special circumstances of multiple murder and murder committed during rape. The jury deliberated over three days.
Turner showed no reaction as the verdicts were read. He could receive the death penalty; the penalty phase begins Wednesday.
Robert Williams, 50, the brother of victim Mildred Beasely, 45, was in court to hear the verdicts and hurriedly called his five sisters with the news.
``It feels so good,'' he said between calls. ``I've spent nine years waiting. This is the happiest day in a long time.''
Turner, 40, is already serving an eight-year prison sentence for the 2002 rape of a woman near downtown. His DNA in that case linked him to the serial killings, which spanned from 1987 to 1998.
Eight of the killings occurred in South Los Angeles when Turner was living in that area, the prosecution said.
One victim was Regina Washington, 27, who was 6 1/2 months pregnant when she was strangled with an electrical cord behind a vacant house in September 1989. Her fetus was considered one of the murder victims.
Andrea Tripplett, 29, was 5 1/2 months pregnant when she was strangled in April 1993. Turner wasn't charged with killing Tripplett's fetus, however, because California law specified at the time that a fetus at that stage was not considered viable.
There were no witnesses to any of the killings, but a security camera recorded the murder of Paula Vance, 38, in February 1998. The grainy video made it hard to make out Vance and her assailant, but it did show her being thrown to the ground. After about 15 minutes, a man could be seen walking away from her body.
Before police identified Turner as a suspect, a mentally disabled janitor was wrongly convicted of three other slayings police now believe are connected to Turner.
David Allen Jones, 44, was released in 2004 after 11 years in prison and was awarded $720,00 in compensation.