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Man accused of murdering 10 women, fetus goes on trial in Los Angeles

DNA evidence ties a former pizza delivery man accused of being one of the city's most prolific serial killers to the slayings of 10 women and an unborn fetus, a prosecutor told jurors Tuesday at the start of his trial.

The women's killings happened over 11 years. Deputy District Attorney Bobby Grace said Chester D. Turner was finally caught after he was arrested in 2002 on charges of raping a woman in Los Angeles.

Authorities charged Turner, 40, in October 2004. If convicted, he could face the death penalty.

Turner's DNA was submitted to cold-case investigators and "like water from a faucet" each unsolved murder was linked to Turner, Grace told jury.

Police allege he accosted most of his victims on a street in crime-plagued South Los Angeles, raping and strangling them in a killing spree that extended from 1987 to 1998.

"Time has passed and we've waited for the name of that killer to emerge," Grace said. "Today we can say the name of that killer - Chester Turner."

Turner has pleaded not guilty to 11 counts of murder. His defense was expected to explain the DNA evidence by saying he was a drug dealer whose customers were mainly prostitutes who often paid in trade.

Defense attorney John Tyre deferred his opening statements until he presents Turner's side later in the trial.

One of the killings 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.

Dorothy Patterson, 28, sat in the courtroom just feet away from the man accused of murdering her mother, Regina Washington, and her mother's unborn fetus.

"I came for closure," Patterson said outside court. "It's been a very long time. I just want justice to be served."

Before police identified Turner as a suspect, a mentally disabled janitor was wrongly convicted of three other slayings police believe are connected to Turner. David Allen Jones, 44, was released in 2004 after spending 11 years in prison, and was awarded $720,000 (EUR539,000) in compensation.

Turner has not been charged with those three killings.

Dorothy Patterson grew up as an only child. She probably would have had a sister if her mother had not been strangled with an electrical cord when Patterson was only 11 years old.

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