Source AP ©

Trial of suspected serial killer set to begin Tuesday in Los Angeles

A former pizza delivery man accused of being one of the most prolific serial killers in Los Angeles history was headed to trial on charges of murdering 10 women and the unborn fetus of one victim.

Authorities charged Chester D. Turner, 40, in October 2004 with the slayings after his DNA was linked to the women, who were killed between 1987 and 1998.

Police allege Turner accosted most of his victims on a street in crime-plagued South Los Angeles and raped and strangled them before dumping their bodies.

Prosecutors say they plan to show jurors during the trial beginning Tuesday DNA connections analysts made between Turner and the 10 women.

Turner has pleaded not guilty to the charges. In addition to 11 counts of murder, he is accused of the special circumstances of multiple murder and murder committed during a rape.

His defense was expected to claim that he was a drug dealer whose customers were mainly prostitutes who often paid in trade. That, they say, would account for the DNA evidence.

The killing of one of the 10 women was recorded on a grainy security camera videotape, but Turner's lawyer has said the footage is so rough that it is impossible to identify the victim or assailant.

Turner is already serving an 8-year prison sentence after pleading no contest to rape in 2002.

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 March 2004, after spending 11 years in prison. Jones received $720,000 (EUR539,000) in compensation for his false conviction and long prison sentence.

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