Behind the Crime Scene - A True Crime Podcast
It's April 30, 2007. Chester Turner is convicted of killing ten women to include the unborn child of one of his victims. The murders took place within a four block radius in the city of Los Angeles between 1987 and 1998. In 2014, Turner was convicted of murdering four other women receiving the death penalty for the second time.
Join us Behind the Crime Scene as we talk to Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Beth Silverman and Senior Forensic Scientist Jody Hynds about their experience bringing Turner to justice.
Ms. Silverman has been a Deputy District Attorney since 1994 in the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. She is currently assigned to the Major Crimes Division where she vertically prosecutes high-profile, complex homicides. During the last 11 years in this unit, she has successfully obtained the death penalty in several capital cases. She has also prosecuted multiple serial killers including Lonnie Franklin, Jr., aka “the Grim Sleeper,” Michael Hughes, aka “the Southside Slayer,” Chester Turner, Samuel Little, and Latece Brown. Many of these cases involved collaboration with multiple law enforcement agencies and lengthy task force investigations.
The majority of the homicide cases Ms. Silverman prosecutes involve sex crimes, domestic violence and forensic evidence, especially DNA and firearms evidence. In fact, the Lonnie Franklin case was the first case in the country where Familial DNA was utilized to solve a homicide.
In 2007, Ms. Silverman successfully prosecuted the no-body cold case murder of a mother by her husband, a retired Sheriff’s deputy. The victim went missing in 1991. After a lengthy trial, the defendant was convicted of the 1 st degree murder of his wife, despite the fact that no crime scene was ever discovered, nor any murder weapon, and no forensic evidence linked the defendant to his wife’s disappearance. This case was featured on Dateline NBC and is the subject of a book, “You’ll Never Find My Body.” (People v. John Racz)
Additionally, in 2000, Ms. Silverman prosecuted a mother who murdered her four young daughters by setting fire to their home in the Santa Clarita Valley. Defendant Sandi Nieves was sentenced to death after an extremely complicated, contentious, and protracted trial, where a complex series of mental defenses was presented and myriad expert witnesses testified regarding arson, DNA, handwriting and indented impression analysis, latent prints, psychiatry, neuropsychology, psychopharmacology, and toxicology. (People v. Sandi Nieves)
From 1999-2006, Ms. Silverman was assigned to the Hardcore Gang Division, which is the unit that handles gang-related murders in the office. She was responsible for filing homicide cases and all stages of their prosecution in the San Fernando Valley. The cases typically involved witness intimidation, uncooperative witnesses and multiple defendants. She acquired guilty verdicts in all cases she prosecuted, including the shooting at Taft High School that left one teenager permanently paralyzed from the waist down.
Ms. Silverman has been featured as a lecturer at the California Attorney General and Department of Justice, FBI Violent Crimes Seminar, Los Angeles Department of Coroner, Orange County Coroner’s Symposium, National Homicide Investigators Association Conference, Association of Firearm and Toolmark Examiners Conference, International Association of Bloodstain Pattern Analysis Conference, Colorado Association of Sex Crimes Investigators Conference, LAPD as well as the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office Capital Case College, Homicide College, and Grand Jury College on multiple occasions. She has also presented a lecture on multi-agency collaboration in serial offender prosecutions at the Los Angeles 2012 DNA Forum.
She has received several awards, such as the LADA’s Distinguished Achievement Award, the “Top Women Lawyers” by the Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journals, and the Board of Directors’ Appellate Award for Outstanding Advocacy in Capital Litigation by the Association of Government Lawyers in Capital Litigation in Washington, D.C.
Jody Hynds has a 20 year career as a forensic scientist, beginning at Orchid Cellmark, a private forensic DNA laboratory in Dallas in 2000. While employed there, she was a DNA analyst and supervisor, analyzing DNA and testifying in court for criminal cases across the United States. In 2008, Jody was the DNA technical leader for Forensic Testing Laboratory, a private laboratory on the New Mexico State University campus. From 2010-2020, she was a Senior Forensic Scientist for the Orange County District Attorney’s Office where she managed OCDA’s innovative DNA programs that included the local DNA database, the Rapid DNA program, and the creation of a genetic genealogy team in the Science and Technology Unit. Currently, she’s the Quality Manager at the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s office in Fort Worth, Texas, where she oversees the quality management program for the accredited medical examiner’s office and the full service crime laboratory.
A True Crime Podcast with Gina L. Osborn
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A True Crime Podcast with Gina L Osborn
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