Image: Chester Turner
Nick Ut  /  AP file
Chester Turner was convicted Monday of Los Angeles serial killings, including the murder of a woman and her unborn daughter.
updated 4/30/2007 10:00:23 PM ET 2007-05-01T02:00:23

A man described by prosecutors as possibly the city's most prolific serial killer was convicted Monday of murdering 10 women and one victim's unborn fetus in the 1980s and '90s.

The jury also found Chester Turner guilty of the special circumstances of multiple murder and murder committed during rape.

The six-man, six-woman jury had deliberated since April 26.

Turner did not appear to react as the jury's verdicts were read. He could receive the death penalty in the penalty phase of the trial, scheduled to begin Wednesday.

Only a handful of victims' relatives were present because of short notice of the verdict. Among them was Robert Williams, 50, the brother of victim Mildred Beasely, 45, who hurriedly called her five sisters with the news.

"It feels so good," he said between calls. "I've spent nine years waiting. This is the happiest day in a long time. There's a little bit of closure. Justice has been served."

Turner, 40, is already serving an eight-year prison sentence for the 2002 rape of a woman on Skid Row.

His DNA in that rape case linked him to the serial killings that spanned from 1987 to 1998.

Eight of the killings occurred in South Los Angeles when Turner was living in that area, the prosecution said.

Two pregnant victims
One victim was Regina Washington, 27, who was 6 1/2 months pregnant when she was strangled with an electrical cord behind a vacant house in September 1989. Her unborn daughter was one of the murder victims.

Another woman, Andrea Tripplett, 29, was 5 1/2 months pregnant when she was strangled in April 1993. Turner wasn't charged with killing Tripplett's unborn child, however, because California law specified at the time that a 5 1/2-month-old fetus was not considered viable.

There were no eyewitnesses to any of the killings, but a security camera recorded the murder of Paula Vance, 38, in February 1998. The grainy video made it hard to make out Vance and her assailant, but it did show her being thrown to the ground. After about 15 minutes, a man could be seen walking away from her body.

The other victims were Diane Johnson, 21; Annette Ernest, 26; Anita Fishman, 31; Desarae Jones, 29; Natalie Price, 31; and Brenda Bries, 37.

Before police identified Turner as a suspect, a mentally disabled janitor was wrongly convicted of three other slayings police believe are connected to Turner. Turner hasn't been charged with those murders.

David Allen Jones, 44, was released in 2004 after 11 years in prison. He received $720,000 in compensation.

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