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Jury decides prolific L.A. serial killer should be executed

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Jury decides that prolific L.A. serial killer should be put to death
'He's an animal. He doesn't have a soul,' sister of a victim says after jury decides serial killer should die
'We can breathe and move on,' the sister of a victim says about jury's death verdict for L.A. serial killer

A Los Angeles jury decided Thursday that one of the city's most prolific serial killers should be executed for the murders of four women in the 1980s and '90s.

Chester Dewayne Turner, 47, showed no emotion as a courtroom clerk read the verdicts in a packed downtown courtroom, where relatives of the victims dabbed tears from their faces.

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FOR THE RECORD

An earlier version of this post said Turner was first sentenced to death in 1997. He was sentenced in 2007.

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A sister of one victim arrived moments after the verdicts were announced and pumped her fist when she learned of the jury's decision.

The verdict marks the second time that a Los Angeles jury has decided Turner should be put to death. In 2007, Turner was sentenced to death for the killings of 10 women and the unborn child of one of the victims, who was 6 1/2 months pregnant when she was slain.

Turner, a one-time pizza deliveryman, was one of at least five serial killers who prowled South L.A. in the 1980s and '90s. Most of his victims were raped and strangled.

In the latest case, jurors found him guilty last week of first-degree murder for the killings of Cynthia Annette Johnson, 30; Elandra Bunn, 33; Mary Edwards, 42; and Deborah Williams, 28. Authorities said that DNA linked Turner to the slayings.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Beth Silverman said the most recent case was important to provide justice for the four victims and their relatives.

"He needs to be held to answer for each and every victim that he murdered," she said.

Dianna Bright, whose sister, Edwards, was found dumped in the carport of a hotel along the Figueroa corridor in 1992, said she welcomed Thursday's verdict.

"It felt like I can breathe now. I don't have to stay strong for the death of my sister," she said. "We can breathe and move on. So it's a great relief for me."

Three of Johnson's sisters also attended Thursday's court hearing.

"I'm happy. Justice was served," said one of the women, Gwendolyn Cameron, adding that she believed that execution was too good for Turner. "He's an animal. He doesn't have a soul. He's straight up despicable. I wish I had the chance to just spit in his face."

Turner's sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 1.

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