L.A. serial killer charged with four more killings
Chester Dewayne Turner, one of Los Angeles' most prolific serial killers who prowled the streets of South L.A. in the 1980s and '90s, was charged Tuesday with four additional murders linked to him through DNA.
The charges were filed after a DNA test recently connected Turner to the 1997 slaying of Cynthia Johnson, whose abandoned body was found near a church in the Green Meadows neighborhood. The LAPD had labeled the killing as cleared after the arrest and unsuccessful prosecution of another suspect months after Johnson’s death.
But a department criminalist inadvertently included evidence from the Johnson case for testing last year as part of the LAPD’s effort to reduce the backlog of untested sexual assault kits, said Det. Cliff Shepard.
The other three murder counts stem from killings in which authorities long suspected Turner but never filed charges.
In two cases, another man was wrongfully convicted and spent 11 years behind bars until his release in 2004, when DNA linked Turner to the killings. In the fourth case, DNA connected Turner to the case after he had been charged with multiple killings in 2004.
Turner, 44, was sentenced to death in 2007 for the murder of 10 women and a 6 1/2-month-old fetus. “He needs to be held accountable for what he did,” said L.A. County Deputy Dist. Atty. Robert Grace, who helped prosecute Turner. “It’s very important for everyone in the city, particularly those in South L.A., that the justice system does value the lives of people killed.”
Turner, a onetime pizza deliveryman, was one of at least five serial killers who roamed South L.A. in the 1980s and '90s. Turner’s killings took place between 1987 and 1998, mostly in the 30-block stretch of motels and apartments that runs south from Slauson Avenue along Figueroa Street -– an area that was at the time notorious for prostitution, drug crime and violence. Most of the victims were raped and strangled.
-- Jack Leonard and Andrew Blankstein
Photo: Chester D. Turner in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Nov. 1, 2005, during his preliminary hearing on charges that he killed 10 women. Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times
Map: Locations of where Turner's victims were found. Credit: Homicide Report
See a map of where authorities found the bodies of 53 victims of serial killers between 1984 and 2007.