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A Hawthorne man arrested in the 2005 killing of a woman in Gardena denied the allegations against him, and has resigned from his position as a teacher in the Inglewood Unified School District.

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department officials named 56-year-old Charles Wright as a suspect in the killing of Pertina Epps in a news release issued Saturday, Jan.

29. She was 21 when she was found strangled to death in a carport on the 2700 block of 141st Place in Gardena over 16 years ago on April 26.

Investigators reexamined the case in 2021, and found fingerprint and DNA evidence linking Wright to the homicide, LASD officials said. He was arrested Thursday morning, Jan. 27, and released later that day after posting $1 million bail, according to inmate records.

Detectives do not believe the victim and suspect knew each other, Sheriff’s officials said. Wright says he didn’t kill Epps.

“I did not do this,” Wright said Monday before declining to discuss the case and deferring to his attorney, who did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Wright has publicly stated that detectives had found his fingerprints on the victim’s purse. He said that he used to sell clothing and apparel out of his trunk, and Epps must have purchased the item his fingerprints were found on.

He has not commented on the DNA evidence found by investigators. Sheriff’s officials responding to Wright’s public comments declined to go into detail about what kind of sample was found, where it was located or how it was analyzed.

“I also read the comments made by Charles Wright on social media and can tell you, with confidence, that they are inaccurate and self-serving,” said Shaun McCarthy, one of the LASD Detectives investigating Epps’ killing.

Wright was a teacher at Woodworth-Monroe K-8 Academy, Jalel Braden, a spokeswoman for the Inglewood Unified School District said. IUSD officials learned of his arrest Friday, Jan. 28, and he subsequently resigned. Wright had been with the district since 1999.

IUSD officials said the homicide Wright was suspected of is “unrelated to our school district,” in a letter sent to parents and staff on Saturday. “The teacher has resigned and will no longer be at any of our schools.”

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Kemba Walker Reveals His Plan to Help Special Mavericks Teammate Luka Doncic

Getty Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks looks to pass around Kemba Walker #8.

Looking at the Dallas Mavericks‘ roster, it’s plain to see why the team decided to sign free agent Kemba Walker earlier in the week. The team is starved of playmaking after Luka Doncic; in fact, the only other true point guards on the roster were Facundo Campazzo and Frank Ntilikina, the former of which was waived after the Walker signing.

Such is the primary motivation for adding Walker: though he’s been hobbled with injuries and not looked like his former All-Star self in some time, the Mavs are hoping there’s still some playmaking left in the tank. And if you ask Walker, there certainly is; the former Charlotte Hornet is crystal clear about his responsibilities in Dallas.

“Just adding another guy who can create for others and myself,” Walker said in an interview with the Mavericks this week. “I think I can help in that aspect. Take a little pressure off. Luka doesn’t really need any pressure taken off him. The kid is special. But maybe helping with Spence (Dinwiddie), who has been killing it this year and some of the young guys. Just be that extra ballhandler.”

Kemba Walker Reveals Health Status

The big question mark for Walker is his health. For the first eight seasons of his career, Walker was the postboy of availability, even playing in 82 games back in 2018. But since then, he’s missed 110 games with various injuries. But when asked about his fitness heading into the season, Walker beamed with confidence.

“I feel good, and I’m not just saying that. I know I haven’t played in a while. But I feel as good as I have in a very long time. I really took my time and made sure I felt better before I really started ramping myself up. We’ll just have to see for real.”

The Mavericks plan to sign Kemba Walker, per @ShamsCharania pic.twitter.com/JmykHiXOPP

— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) November 28, 2022

The Mavericks will also hope that Walker can provide some scoring off the bench. During his peak, Walker was a decent three-point threat, though he never did eclipse 40 percent from beyond the arc.

Walker also intends to be a solid locker room presence, all the more important with the Mavericks currently eighth in the Western Conference.

Walker: ‘I Can Help With’ Keeping Energy High

Between his time with the listless Hornets and underachieving Knicks, Walker knows a thing or two about disappointing results. That knowledge, and keeping the locker room light, is something he’s hoping to bring to the currently-underperforming Mavericks.

“When things aren’t going well, guys can get down. When guys are missing shots, they can get down on themselves. I can always sense that in guys because I’ve been through it. And I’ve had vets who have helped me get through it. And that’s something I know I can help with.”

With any luck, Walker will spark Dallas back up the Western Conference ladder. At the very least, he’s an established player with an All-Star background, even if that past is long gone. Keeping Doncic as fresh as possible for the playoffs must be a primary concern for the Mavericks. It remains to be seen whether Walker truly helps on that front.

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