A story for every victim

Serial killer: Michael Hughes

Michael Hughes was a former security guard who targeted vulnerable women on the streets, some of whom had drug problems, according to authorities. In 1998, he was convicted of killing four women, three of whom were dumped in alleys in a commercial area of Culver City. They had been choked to death.

He was sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole.

A decade after his conviction, prosecutors accused Hughes of strangling four additional victims, ages 15 to 36. Hughes was identified through a cold-hit DNA link. Most of the victims' bodies were dumped outside and found by passersby.

He was convicted on Nov. 3, 2011, in three of those cases: the deaths of Yvonne Coleman, 15, Verna Patricia Williams, 36, and Deborah Jackson, aka Harriet McKinley, 32.

On June 22, 2012, Hughes was sentenced to death for killing Coleman, Williams and Jackson.

Detectives believe that Hughes moved frequently throughout his life, living in Long Beach, San Diego and Michigan. They warned police departments around the country of Hughes' movements, concerned he may be linked to killings beyond Los Angeles.

Since the early 1980s, at least five serial killers, and possibly more, were active in the South Los Angeles area. These killers targeted mostly young African American women, dumping their bodies in alleys, vacant buildings or parks.

Click here to see a map of where authorities found the bodies of 53 victims of serial killers between 1984 and 2007.

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