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California serial killer on death row linked to cold case homicide in Salt Lake City

SALT LAKE CITY — A convicted serial killer on death row in California has now been linked to a cold case homicide in Salt Lake City.

Chester Turner, 57, is at the California State Penitentiary for the murders of 14 women in the Los Angeles area, primarily sex workers and homeless women, including one who was six months pregnant, from 1987 to 1998, according to prosecutors. His last known homicide was on April 6, 1998.

He was arrested and convicted of rape in 2002 in southern California and sentenced to prison. But between 2003 and 2004, while incarcerated, DNA tests linked Turner to several unsolved murders. Turner was sentenced to death in 2014, although California placed a moratorium on the death penalty in 2019.

On Friday, Turner was charged with aggravated murder in Utah’s 3rd District Court for a cold case homicide that occurred on Sept. 24, 1998, at 165 E. 900 South in Salt Lake City.

On that day, the body of Itisha Camp, 21, who was working as a prostitute, was found partially clothed in the back of a business, at the bottom of a set of stairs, according to charging documents.

“She had minor scrapes on the base of her hands along with cement dust and a small scrape on the lower portion of her neck,” the charges state. “There was cement dust on the victim’s face and a multicolored scarf around her neck.”

An autopsy determined that Camp died from being strangled.

In 2023, DNA collected from Camp’s body and her scarf was put into a national database and matched with Turner, who by then was incarcerated in San Quentin Prison in California, the charges state. Detectives learned that Turner was on parole in California in 1998 for car theft and drugs and had absconded to Utah. He was also the victim of an assault while living in Salt Lake City in 1998.

“During the investigation, detectives learned that (Turner) was in Utah during the time of the victim’s death. Additionally, the circumstances surrounding the victim’s death matched the murders (he) was convicted of in California,” prosecutors wrote.

On Friday, Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill praised the continuous work of Salt Lake police to solve the 25-year-old case.

“It must have been profoundly difficult for Ms. Camp’s family and loved ones over the last 25 years, not knowing if the suspect in her murder was still out in the public,” Gill said. “We hope the filing of this charge brings some relief to Ms. Camp’s loved ones and our entire community, knowing that the defendant is already behind bars.”

It was unclear Friday whether the district attorney’s office was actually planning to have Turner extradited back to Utah to face his murder charge here. A spokesman for the office simply said Friday, “We will follow all legal avenues available to us.”

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