LOS ANGELES – A man described by prosecutors as possibly Los Angeles' most prolific serial killer was convicted Monday of murdering 10 women and one victim's unborn baby 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.
Turner, 40, is already serving an eight-year prison sentence for the 2002 rape of a woman in the run-down Skid Row neighborhood.
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.
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 was not 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.
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 has not been charged with those murders.
David Allen Jones, 44, was released in 2004, after 11 years in prison. He received $720,000 in compensation.