Serial killer who murdered 14 women in LA charged with murder in Utah

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA — A man who murdered 14 women in Los Angeles from 1987 to 1998 has been charged with the killing of another woman in Utah, authorities said Friday.

Chester Turner, 57, is currently serving time in a California state prison for killing 14 women in a several-mile area along Figueroa Street south of Interstate 10. The victims were mostly sex workers and/or homeless women, and one of them was pregnant.

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Prosecutors once described him as the city's most prolific serial killer and said most of his victims were also raped.

On Friday, the Salt Lake City District Attorney's Office announced that Turner has been charged with the murder of Itisha Camp, whose body was found behind a store by three teenagers on Sept. 24, 1998. Prosecutors say she was killed by strangulation; most of Turner's victims in Los Angeles were strangled.

Authorities in Utah say they have linked Camp's killing to Turner through DNA evidence. They say Turner fled to Utah in 1998, violating his California parole for auto theft and drug trafficking.

“It must have been extremely difficult for Ms. Camp's family and loved ones for the past 25 years not knowing if the suspect in her murder case was still at large,” said Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill. “We hope that the filing of these charges will bring some relief to Ms. Camp's loved ones and our entire community, knowing that the defendant is already behind bars.”

Turner was convicted of 10 counts of first-degree murder in April 2007 and sentenced to death for the other four murders in 2014. His appeal for those four murders is pending.

Turner was initially convicted of murder:

  • Diane Johnson, 21, who was found dead in March 1987;
  • Annette Ernest, 26, who was killed in October 1987;
  • Anita Fishman, 31, who was murdered in January 1989;
  • Washington, 27, who was visibly pregnant when she was murdered in September 1989;
  • Desarae Jones, 29, who was killed in May 1993;
  • Andrea Tripplett, 29, who was strangled in South Los Angeles on April 2, 1993;
  • Natalie Price, 31, whose body was found outside a house on February 12, 1995;
  • Mildred Beasley, 45, whose body was found in a field on November 6, 1996;
  • Paula Vance, 38, who was strangled during a rape on February 3, 1998. The rape was captured on grainy black-and-white surveillance video in which the attacker's face is not visible.
  • Brenda Bries, 37, who was found dead in the Skid Row neighborhood on April 6, 1998.

Turner lived just 30 blocks from the murders – Bries' body was discovered in downtown Los Angeles, just 50 meters from where he lived at the time.

He was linked to the strangulations based on the results of a DNA test after he was arrested and convicted of raping a woman in Skid Row in 2002.

In 2014, he was convicted of killing 33-year-old Elandra Bunn in June 1987, 28-year-old Deborah Williams in November 1992, 42-year-old Mary Edwards in December 1992 and 30-year-old Cynthia Annette Johnson in February 1997 in Watts.

It was not immediately clear if and when he would be extradited to Utah to face the latest murder charge.

City news service