Nov 8, 2004
Between 1987 and 1998, along a 30-block stretch in Los Angeles, at least 12 women – and probably many more – were raped, murdered and their bodies dumped in streets and alleys. Neither the police department nor media paid any attention. No warnings to women of a serial killer on the loose were announced. Only one detective who walked the beat in the 1980's attempted to take on the cases. Other than families of the victims and their friends, the rest of the city never heard of these brutal killings.
If this happened in Beverly Hills to "respectable" wealthy and middle-class women, it would have been more sensational than the O.J. Simpson case.
But these women were not rich or well-connected. Most were prostitutes and drug addicts; most were homeless; one sold cigarettes outside a Mission where she stayed; a couple were passersby; 11 of the 12 were black; all were poor – the most vulnerable of the population.
In other words, in a society that despises women who are not "well brought up" and respectably married , these women were disposable – to be used, misused and thrown away.
In 1992, when over a short period, three women were found raped and strangled near a school in this area, L.A. police detectives were out to find and convict someone as quickly as possible because of the school. The finger was pointed at a mentally retarded janitor. Detectives put him through two grueling days of interrogation, riddled with manipulation and lies on the part of the detectives, before he "confessed" and was railroaded to jail. A civil rights lawyer currently investigating the case said, "This is nothing but detectives trying to put a fabricated story in the mind of a retarded man."
Nine years after he was sent to prison for killings he did not commit, the janitor was quietly released from prison when DNA proved he could not have committed the crimes.
And now, 17 years after the first victim was murdered, a DNA sample taken from 37-year-old Chester Turner, currently serving time for rape, was found to match these cases. He has already been charged with 10 of the killings, and is a suspect in the killings of a dozen other women in L.A.
Two dozen women dead because the whole criminal and legal system has contempt for them.
What's contemptible, truly contemptible, is that criminal system.