What made Chester Turner one of the most prolific killers of his time?
On 4 April 2007, photos of strangled women with bloated faces were shown to an LA courtroom. ‘These are the victims of a killer,’ said the Deputy District Attorney. ‘A killer called Chester Turner.’
So who was he? And what turned him into one of the most prolific killers in LA history?
Chester Dewayne Turner was born on 5 November 1966. Just 5 when his parents separated, he lived with his mum. She worked long hours, and Chester was reportedly made to stay close to home at all times. Then food was locked away when his mum returned. All of which might have led him to feel a lack of control.
Turner said his dad was strict and his stepmum beat him. He was also forbidden from fighting back against his half-siblings.
In school, Chester showed a lack of inhibition, and disregard for social boundaries. He was nicknamed ‘Chester the Molester’.
After dropping out of school at 17, Turner worked as a pizza delivery man, while getting involved in criminal activity. He even lashed out at a friend with a knife. Then Turner was kicked out of his mum’s for drugs and booze abuse.
And, at 20, he began killing…
In March 1987, his first victim was found partially naked and strangled. The second body followed seven months later. Another six were found over the next nine years – all women within a four-block area of Turner’s home. One victim was six months pregnant and strangled.
The final two murders, in 1998, were committed further afield, close to where Turner had by then moved.
Most of his victims were found partially naked, strangled and showing proof of rape. They were usually homeless drug addicts or prostitutes.
But even killing wasn’t enough to satisfy Turner’s desire for control. One shocking way he tried to gain power was by attending the wake of one of his victims – blending in with the mourners. Invisible.
Turner had a child in 1992. The first of four. It’s thought his relationship with their mum was turbulent and violent.
Between 1995 and 2002 Turner was convicted of six offences, including theft and drug possession, as well as assault on a police officer and cruelty to an animal. In March 2002, he grabbed a woman by the throat and repeatedly raped her behind some bins. He then threatened to kill her if she reported it. Amazingly, she escaped and went to the police.
Turner, 37, was convicted and sentenced to eight years inside. But his DNA sample linked him to the killings. He was charged with killing 10 women and one foetus.
Chester Dewayne Turner was found guilty of 10 counts of first-degree murder, and one count of second-degree murder for the death of the victim’s foetus. The following month, he was sentenced to death.
In 2014, Turner was convicted of four additional murders. He received another death sentence for those murders, making him the most prolific killer of his time.