DNA evidence leads to arrest of Hawthorne man in 17-year-old murder case

A Hawthorne man was arrested in connection with the death of a 21-year-old woman in 2005 after DNA and fingerprint evidence was used to identify him, authorities said.

The use of DNA and fingerprint evidence led to the arrest of Charles Wright, 56, in the killing of Pertina Epps, who was strangled to death, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said Saturday. Detectives began reviewing the case in 2021 and resubmitted forensic evidence left at the crime scene using new technology. Detectives were then able to connect it to Wright.

Wright was arrested on Thursday morning but was later released after posting bond, the sheriff’s department said. He is scheduled for an arraignment on June 28.

On April 26, 2005, a Tuesday afternoon, Epps was found lying underneath a carport in an empty parking stall in Gardena, the sheriff’s department said. She died by strangulation, according to an investigation by the Los Angeles County medical examiner.

Detectives do not believe Wright and Epps knew each other, the sheriff’s office said.

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

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