California killer given additional death sentence
By BRIAN MELLEY
LOS ANGELES (AP) - One of the most prolific killers in Los Angeles history was given additional death sentences Friday for four killings linked to him through DNA testing while he was on death row.
Chester D. Turner was convicted of murdering a total of 14 women between 1987 and 1998, when the city was in the grips of a crack cocaine epidemic.
The killings were once thought to be the work of a man dubbed the "Southside Slayer." Turner, however, is believed to be one of at least three men now blamed for some of the more than 100 killings of women during that era.
Turner, 47, was stoic and stared at Judge Robert Perry as he handed down the four additional death sentences. As the hulking Turner was led from court, he cursed at the prosecution and said, "I'll be back."
Family members of the victims were jubilant, joking and celebrating as they rode the courthouse elevator after the brief hearing.
"It's judgment day," said Gwendolyn Cameron, whose sister Cynthia Johnson was a victim in the most recent case. "He got what he had coming. The sooner they execute him, the better we'll all be. He's a menace to society."
Turner was serving time for rape when genetic evidence connected him to 10 killings in South Los Angeles. The victims had all been raped and strangled. Their bodies were dumped in alleys, an abandoned garage and a portable toilet.
Some were prostitutes, some were crack users and some were just snatched off the streets.
Turner was previously convicted and sentenced to death in those cases, and given an additional term of 15 years-to-life for killing a victim's fetus.
Evidence emerged later that also linked him to the killings of Elandra Bunn, 33, in June 1987; Deborah Williams, 28, in November 1992; Mary Edwards, 42, in December 1992; and Cynthia Annette Johnson, 30, in February 1997. All were choked to death.
Another man, David Allen Jones, served 11 years for three of those killings.
Jones, a janitor with the mental capacity of an 8-year-old, was freed after the DNA evidence pointed to Turner and prosecutors determined Jones' confessions were coerced by police.
Defense lawyers acknowledged that Turner had sex with women in exchange for drugs, but they argued he wasn't a killer.
"He denies to this day that he killed anybody," defense lawyer Kieran Patrick Brown said.