Trial Of Suspected Serial Killer Set To Begin

Tuesday, April 3rd 2007, 9:42 am
By: News On 6

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A former pizza delivery man accused of being one of the city's most prolific serial killers is going on trial on charges of murdering 10 women and the unborn fetus of one victim.

Authorities charged Chester D. Turner in October 2004 after his DNA was linked to the victims.

Police allege he accosted most of his victims on a street in crime-plagued South Los Angeles, raping and strangling them in a killing spree that extended from 1987 to 1998.

His trial was set to begin Tuesday.

Turner, 40, has pleaded not guilty to 11 counts of murder.

His defense was expected to claim that the DNA evidence could be accounted for because he was a drug dealer whose customers were mainly prostitutes who often paid in trade.

One of the killings was recorded on a grainy security camera videotape, but Turner's lawyer has said the footage is so rough that it's impossible to identify the victim or assailant.

Turner is already serving an 8-year prison sentence after pleading no contest to rape in 2002.

Before police identified Turner as a suspect, a mentally disabled janitor was wrongly convicted of three other slayings police believe are connected to Turner. David Allen Jones, 44, was released in 2004 after spending 11 years in prison, and was awarded $720,000 in compensation.

Turner hasn't been charged with those three murders.