Detectives Solve 16-Year-Old Homicide Case; Arrest Hawthorne Man

A police crime scene tape close-up

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Sheriff's homicide detectives announced today DNA and fingerprint technology led to the arrest of a suspect in the death of a woman in Gardena 16 years ago.

Charles Wright, 56, of Hawthorne was arrested Thursday for suspicion of murder in the strangling of 21-year-old Pertina Epps, said Deputy Alejandra Parra of the Sheriff's Information Bureau. A resident was backing out of a carport about 1 p.m. April 26, 2005 in the 2700 block of 141st Place and discovered Epps' body in an empty parking stall,  Parra said.

 ``At the time of the murder, an extensive investigation was conducted by LASD homicide detectives and all leads were exhausted,'' she said. ``During a review of this case in 2021 by the Sheriff's Homicide Unsolved Unit, forensic evidence left at the crime scene was resubmitted for examination, using current technology,'' Parra said. ``DNA and fingerprint evidence was determined to belong to the suspect, Charles Wright.''

Wright was arrested Thursday, with bail set at $1 million, she said. He bailed out of jail the same day. Wright's arraignment was scheduled for June 28, Parra said. Anyone with information about the case was asked to call detectives at 323-890-5500 or Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477).

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