Disclaimer: The article contains mentions of abuse and murder. Readers’ discretion is advised.
Chester Turner is an American serial killer convicted of the first-degree murders of several women, including the murder of a pregnant woman, over the period of more than ten years in the 1980s and 1990s. Most of his victims were allegedly homeless or were sex workers. He was also convicted of committing second-degree murder against a woman who was 6 and a half months pregnant. Turner was convicted in 2007 and sentenced to death.
Turner is also a convicted sexual offender. He served time in prison for a rape conviction in 2002. Through the 1980s and 1990s, he was arrested on multiple occasions for drug possession and theft, while animal cruelty and assault on an officer are some other crimes on record. However, these allegations were completely unrelated to the murders that he was later convicted of.
The trial that convicted Chester Turner was a fairly long one as he was sentenced twice. The first time was in 2007 for the murder of ten women and then, in 2014, again for four more women. He was sentenced to death twice. Despite the defense’s attempt, the court did not alter the death sentence for Turner on the charges of second-degree murder. The trials also remain one of the most important trials for a serial killer because of the multiple sentencing and the strength of forensic evidence.
Paula Vance, Brenda Bries, Diane Johnson, Natalie Price, Mildred Beasley, Tammie Christmas, Debra Williams, Mary Edwards, Annette Ernest, Anita Fishman, Regina Washington, Andrea Tripplett, and Desarae Jones, were all Chester Turner’s identified victims.
How was Chester Turner caught?
DNA testing was at the center of the investigation, leading to Chester Turner’s conviction. The California Combined DNA Index System linked Turner to the series of murders. Between 1987 and 1998, he committed 13 murders to which he was linked through DNA according to the records of the Los Angeles Police Department. At the time of his arrest, Turner, who was 37, worked as a pizza delivery man.
Regina Washington’s murder was among the most controversial and gruesome killings, leading to his consideration as one of the most prolific serial killers in the state. Washington was six and a half months pregnant at the time of the death. This caused the charges against Turner to be elevated to those of second-degree murder. He was widely known as The Southside Slayer, a name frequently used for other serial killers in Los Angeles too.
In 2007, they initially convicted Chester Turner of only 10 murders. Later, in 2014, he was convicted of four additional killings and was sentenced to death once again. According to CBS News, prosecutors claimed that Turner mostly targeted “vulnerable women,” including prostitutes and the homeless. According to NBC Los Angeles, Chester Turner is currently on death row at the San Quentin State Prison.
The ninth episode in Season 6 of World’s Most Evil Killers digs deeper into Chester Turner’s gruesome crimes. It was released on December 14, 2021. Lastly, the show is currently streaming on Prime Video.