Called L.A.’s most prolific serial killer, Chester D. Turner — already on Death Row — charged with 4 more

Already on Death Row after
being convicted of 10 murders, Chester D. Turner has been charged with four
additional murders.

LOS ANGELES — Two alleged victims of a convicted serial killer, who had already been sentenced to death before being charged with four additional slayings, were found less than a quarter-mile away from each other one month apart, a Los Angeles police captain testified today.Called to the stand in a hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to
require Chester D. Turner to stand trial for four murders between 1987 and 1997,
Los Angeles police Capt. Justin Eisenberg testified that Debra Williams was
found dead on Nov. 16, 1992, at the bottom of a stairwell that leads to a boiler
room at 97th Street School.

Mary Edwards was found dead on Dec. 16, 1992, in a carport outside a motel at
9714 S. Figueroa St., less than a quarter-mile away from the school, the police
captain told Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Samuel Mayerson.

Turner — who was sentenced to death in 2007 for murdering 10 women between
1987 and 1998 — was subsequently charged with the slayings of Williams and
Edwards, along with the June 5, 1987, murder of Elandra Bunn and the Feb. 22,
1997, killing of Cynthia Annette Johnson.

The murder charges include the special circumstance allegations of multiple
murders and murder during the commission of a rape or attempted rape of all four
victims, who were killed in an area known as the Figueroa Corridor.

Prosecutors have yet to decide if they will seek another death sentence for
Turner, who will turn 45 on Saturday.

Bunn was found in a supine


position, with her pants pulled down and hanging on just one ankle, her
shoes off and her face bruised and swollen, in an alley behind a motel at 8725
S. Figueroa St., Los Angeles police Detective Joe Callian told the judge.

She had “severe swelling and bruising” to one of her eyes, the detective
testified.

Williams, who was found dead at the bottom of the school stairwell, was fully
clothed, said Lawrence Reiche, who was an investigator for the coroner’s office.

Edwards was also fully clothed, but was missing a shoe, Eisenberg testified.

Johnson was found dead at the back of a vacant residence at 1143 E. 106th
St., with her pants and underwear pulled down below her genital area and her
right shoe off, former Los Angeles County coroner’s investigator Erik Arbuthnot
testified.

Deputy District Attorney Bobby Grace told the judge that he expects to
present scientific evidence when the hearing resumes Thursday.

Turner, an Arkansas native who once worked as a pizza deliveryman, was
described by prosecutors as the city of Los Angeles’ most prolific serial killer
when he was sentenced to death for the murders of 10 women between 1987 and
1998.

He was brought back to Los Angeles from Death Row at San Quentin State Prison
on March 3, a month after being charged a second time.

Turner was sentenced to death in July 2007 for the 10 murders, with Los
Angeles Superior Court Judge William R. Pounders saying then that there was
“overwhelming evidence” that the defendant methodically located lone women and
“strangled each … for his own sexual pleasure.”

The judge said the “circumstances of the up-close and very personal nature of
the strangulation” of each of the victims “revealed a cruelty rarely seen in
murder trials.”

The judge also tacked on a separate 15-year-to-life term for the second-
degree murder of the unborn baby of one of his victims, 27-year-old Regina
Washington, who was found dead in September 1989.

Along with Washington’s slaying, Turner was convicted in April 2007 of
first-degree murder for the killings of:

— Diane Johnson, 21, who was found dead in March 1987 and is not related to
Cynthia Johnson;

— Annette Ernest, 26, who was found dead by a passing motorist in October
1987;

— Anita Fishman, 31, killed in January 1989;

— Andrea Tripplett, who was 5 1/2 months pregnant with her third child when
she was strangled in April 1993. Turner was not charged with killing her unborn
child because it was not considered viable under the law in place at that time.

— Desarae Jones, 29, killed in May 1993;

— Natalie Price, 31, whose body was found outside a home in February 1995;

— Mildred Beasley, 45, whose body was found in a field in November 1996;

— Paula Vance, 38, who was strangled in February 1998, during the commission
of a rape, which was caught on a grainy black-and-white surveillance videotape
in which the assailant’s face cannot be seen; and

— Brenda Bries, 37, who was found dead in the Skid Row area in April 1998.

Turner lived within 30 blocks of each of the killings — with Bries’ body
discovered in downtown Los Angeles just 50 yards from where he was living at the
time, according to prosecutors.

Turner was linked to those killings through DNA test results after being
arrested and convicted of raping a woman in the Skid Row area in 2002.

After Turner was sent to Death Row, detectives from the Los Angeles Police
Department’s Robbery-Homicide Division continued to investigate the four murders
with which he has since been charged.



position, with her pants pulled down and hanging on just one ankle, her
shoes off and her face bruised and swollen, in an alley behind a motel at 8725
S. Figueroa St., Los Angeles police Detective Joe Callian told the judge.

She had “severe swelling and bruising” to one of her eyes, the detective
testified.

Williams, who was found dead at the bottom of the school stairwell, was fully
clothed, said Lawrence Reiche, who was an investigator for the coroner’s office.

Edwards was also fully clothed, but was missing a shoe, Eisenberg testified.

Johnson was found dead at the back of a vacant residence at 1143 E. 106th
St., with her pants and underwear pulled down below her genital area and her
right shoe off, former Los Angeles County coroner’s investigator Erik Arbuthnot
testified.

Deputy District Attorney Bobby Grace told the judge that he expects to
present scientific evidence when the hearing resumes Thursday.

Turner, an Arkansas native who once worked as a pizza deliveryman, was
described by prosecutors as the city of Los Angeles’ most prolific serial killer
when he was sentenced to death for the murders of 10 women between 1987 and
1998.

He was brought back to Los Angeles from Death Row at San Quentin State Prison
on March 3, a month after being charged a second time.

Turner was sentenced to death in July 2007 for the 10 murders, with Los
Angeles Superior Court Judge William R. Pounders saying then that there was
“overwhelming evidence” that the defendant methodically located lone women and
“strangled each … for his own sexual pleasure.”

The judge said the “circumstances of the up-close and very personal nature of
the strangulation” of each of the victims “revealed a cruelty rarely seen in
murder trials.”

The judge also tacked on a separate 15-year-to-life term for the second-
degree murder of the unborn baby of one of his victims, 27-year-old Regina
Washington, who was found dead in September 1989.

Along with Washington’s slaying, Turner was convicted in April 2007 of
first-degree murder for the killings of:

— Diane Johnson, 21, who was found dead in March 1987 and is not related to
Cynthia Johnson;

— Annette Ernest, 26, who was found dead by a passing motorist in October
1987;

— Anita Fishman, 31, killed in January 1989;

— Andrea Tripplett, who was 5 1/2 months pregnant with her third child when
she was strangled in April 1993. Turner was not charged with killing her unborn
child because it was not considered viable under the law in place at that time.

— Desarae Jones, 29, killed in May 1993;

— Natalie Price, 31, whose body was found outside a home in February 1995;

— Mildred Beasley, 45, whose body was found in a field in November 1996;

— Paula Vance, 38, who was strangled in February 1998, during the commission
of a rape, which was caught on a grainy black-and-white surveillance videotape
in which the assailant’s face cannot be seen; and

— Brenda Bries, 37, who was found dead in the Skid Row area in April 1998.

Turner lived within 30 blocks of each of the killings — with Bries’ body
discovered in downtown Los Angeles just 50 yards from where he was living at the
time, according to prosecutors.

Turner was linked to those killings through DNA test results after being
arrested and convicted of raping a woman in the Skid Row area in 2002.

After Turner was sent to Death Row, detectives from the Los Angeles Police
Department’s Robbery-Homicide Division continued to investigate the four murders
with which he has since been charged.