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Man Pleads Not Guilty in Series of 11 Killings

Convicted rapist Chester D. Turner will stand trial in deaths of 10 women and a fetus.

November 16, 2005|Richard Winton | Times Staff Writer

Suspected serial killer Chester D. Turner pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges that he murdered 10 Los Angeles women and a victim's fetus during an 11-year rampage that began in 1987.

Turner, 39, a convicted rapist whom authorities have termed Los Angeles' most prolific serial killer, entered the plea after prosecutors added an extra murder charge for the death of the fetus of Regina Washington, who was killed in September 1989.

The charges were amended based on a physician's testimony at Turner's preliminary hearing earlier this month that Washington's 6 1/2 -month fetus was viable at the time of her death.

Prosecutors at the two-day hearing also presented DNA evidence and a shadowy, grainy 1998 videotape of a man killing a woman in a downtown parking structure. At the proceeding's conclusion, Turner was ordered to stand trial, and a pretrial conference was set for March 20, with the trial to begin within 60 days.

Turner is serving an eight-year prison sentence in a rape case. Genetic testing conducted after that conviction tied him to sperm cell matter found on the bodies of the 10 women, according to an analyst with the LAPD's Scientific Investigations Division.

Turner's DNA was also allegedly linked to two other slayings, wrongly blamed on David Allen Jones, who was released from prison in March because of the wrongful convictions. Turner has not been charged in those killings.

With an eye to possibly challenging the DNA evidence, Turner's attorneys are seeking a discovery hearing next month on the chain of custody of the sperm samples collected from the 10 women's bodies.

Turner is accused of killing Annette Ernest, 26; Anita Fishman, 31; Washington, 27; Paula Vance, 31; Mildred Beasley, 45; Andrea Tripplett, 29; Desarae Jones, 29; Natalie Price, 31; Brenda Bries, 31; and one unidentified woman who appeared to be in her 20s.

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