DNA evidence leads to arrest of Inglewood teacher in 2005 murder case. He says he didn’t do it


An Inglewood teacher was arrested on suspicion of murdering a 21-year-old woman in 2005 after DNA and fingerprint evidence allegedly linked him to the killing, authorities said Saturday .

Pertina Epps was found lying in a carport in Gardena on April 26, 2005, a Tuesday afternoon, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said. She had been strangled, the medical examiner said.

Charles Wright, 56, was arrested Thursday but released on bond. Detectives do not believe Wright and Epps knew each other, the sheriff’s office said.


Reached by phone Sunday, Wright denied involvement in the crime. He said detectives had found his fingerprints on Epps’ purse, but that could be explained because he had been selling purses, tennis shoes and clothing from the trunk of his car at the time of the slaying. He did not address the DNA allegation but said he had resigned from Inglewood Unified School District to fight the case.

“I didn’t do this,” Wright said. “The thing is, everybody that knows me knows that I used to sell bags and clothes out of my car. ... That’s the only possible way it could happen.” He said he believes people who purchased bags from him during that time period could confirm his story.

County administrator Erika F. Torres, head of Inglewood Unified, told staff and parents in a letter dated Saturday that the district learned of the accusation the day before and that Wright would no longer be teaching at any of its schools. The letter, first reported by the Inglewood-based news site 2 Urban Girls, does not name Wright but includes a link to the Sheriff Department’s announcement of his arrest.

Detectives began reviewing Epps’ murder in 2021 and resubmitted forensic evidence from the crime scene using new technology, officials said.

Wright is scheduled for arraignment June 28.

Authorities said that anyone with information regarding the case can anonymously contact Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.