Lonnie Franklin Jr., the serial murderer known as the "Grimp Sleeper," has been on trial since February 16 for the murder of 10 women between the years of 1988 and 2002 in Los Angeles. This week, the jury got their first glimpse at seeing the killer speak.
Jurors were shown videotapes in which two LAPD detectives interviewed Franklin about the murders soon after he was apprehended. In the video, Franklin denied knowing any of the victims, despite the fact that his DNA was connected to all of them. "You've never seen that girl before?" one detective asked, raising a picture of victim Janecia Peters. "I know a lot of people, but I don't know her," Franklin replied. "I haven't killed anybody."
The video is a major aspect of the prosecutors' case, which also includes DNA and ballistics that connect Franklin to the women, which they hope will prove he's a sociopathic liar.
The major pieces of evidence include a slice of pizza that Franklin has discarded that matched genetic material found at some of the killing sites, a .25-caliber semiautomatic handgun, which two criminalists have testified was the gun used to shoot Peters, and the greatest piece of evidence in the case: the lone woman who survived one of Franklin's alleged attacks, Enitra Washington. Washington testified earlier in the trial that Franklin was the man who shot her back in 1988.
"You know what the news calls you?," fromer LAPD detective Dennis Kilcoyne said. "I know damned well you know."
"The Reaper?" Franklin said.
"The Grim Sleeper," Kilcoyne corrected.
The case has left many wondering why, despite plenty of evidence and even a witness, Franklin was able to kill for nearly 15 years before he was caught. Did it have to do with the fact that most of his victims were Black women? Franklin has pled not guilty to the case, but the mountain of evidence against him makes it unlikely he'll be found so.
(Photo: Al Seib-Pool/Getty Images)