INGLEWOOD – A former Inglewood Unified teacher has broken his silence after being charged in a cold case murder dating back to April 2005. DNA evidence linked him to the murder of Pertina Epps, after her body was found dumped in a Gardena carport.
Charles Wright, 56, is a very popular teacher at Monroe Middle School, with students taking to social media writing #FreeMrWright after the charges became public.
Wright previously taught at Leuzinger High School, and also coached many of the kids in basketball.
“Mr. Wright is a great teacher, mentor, and friend, and I don’t believe the charges,” said one of his students who declined to be identified. “Mr. Wright is one of those teachers that keep it real with you and looks out for students always encouraging us to take life and our studies seriously.”
The Los Angeles Times reached Mr. Wright by phone who proclaimed his innocence and confirmed his resignation from the district, which will be formally accepted at the next scheduled board meeting.
Wright denied involvement in the crime. He said detectives had found his fingerprints on Epps’ purse, but that could be explained because he had been selling purses, tennis shoes and clothing from the trunk of his car at the time of the slaying. He did not address the DNA allegation but said he had resigned from Inglewood Unified School District to fight the case.
“I didn’t do this,” Wright said. “The thing is, everybody that knows me knows that I used to sell bags and clothes out of my car … That’s the only possible way it could happen.” He said he believes people who purchased bags from him during that time period could confirm his story.
Close friends of Wright also dispute the allegations levied against him.
Sheriff’s officials responded to Wright’s public comments declined to go into detail with Daily Breeze about what kind of DNA 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.
Detectives began reviewing Epps’ murder in 2021 and resubmitted forensic evidence from the crime scene using new technology, officials said.
Wright is scheduled for arraignment June 28.
Authorities said that anyone with information regarding the case can anonymously contact Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.