A former pizza deliveryman accused of being one of the city's most prolific serial killers was ordered to stand trial on charges of murdering 10 women, two of whom were pregnant. Superior Court Judge William R. Pounders ruled during a preliminary hearing Tuesday that there was sufficient cause to believe Chester D. Turner committed the slayings that occurred from 1987 to 1998.
Turner, 38, is currently serving an eight-year prison sentence in an unrelated rape case. Pounders set a Nov. 15 arraignment date.
Turner's DNA was matched to sperm cell evidence from the bodies of all the victims, said Carl Matthies of the police department's scientific investigations division. The likelihood of the genetic profile belonging to someone other than Turner was one in one-quintillion, Matthies said.
Defense attorney John Tyre said outside court that DNA does not prove murder. "If it is his DNA it indicates he had sex with these women some time prior to them dying," Tyre said.
Deputy medical examiner Lisa Scheinin testified that all 10 women were strangled, nine had cocaine in their systems, one was 6 1/2 months pregnant and one was between four and five months pregnant. Prosecutors have not said whether they would seek the death penalty if Turner is convicted. In addition to 10 counts of murder, Turner is accused of the special circumstances of multiple murder and murder committed during a rape.
The slayings remained unsolved until a cold case homicide unit began looking into them. In 2002, Turner agreed to submit a DNA sample as part of a no-contest plea to the unrelated rape charge. A detective allegedly found that it matched evidence found in two murders and began looking for more, reports the AP. I.L.