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Guilty By Reason of Pizza: How a Serial Killer, the Grim Sleeper, Came to Justice 25 Years Later

Guilty By Reason of Pizza: How a Serial Killer, the Grim Sleeper, Came to Justice 25 Years Later

Published July 14, 2010

Modern technology never ceases to amaze me, especially when the results lead to the capture of a serial killer who’s been on the loose for a couple decades.  Lonnie David Franklin Jr., 57, is accused of a killing spree spanning 25 years and involving eleven victims.  He allegedly shot or strangled at least 10 African-American women and one man, and dumped their bodies in alleys in a working class Los Angeles neighborhood. 

The “Grim Sleeper,” as he had been named by the LAPD, began his murderous rampage in 1985 (He took a 14 year hiatus form 1988-2002, hence the nickname).  And the most ironic piece of information, is the man whose case police had been dogged by for so many years was right under their noses fixing their cars.  YES!!!! Franklin is a retired police mechanic.  Even more ironic were his neighbors who were more than shocked at the dealings of their peaceful neighborhood mechanic…Sidebar: It’s funny to me that the in most murder cases the neighbors always respond…”We’re just so shocked…He was so quiet.”  So being quiet automatically means you’re not a killer?  We all know better than that. 

But getting back to the story and my favorite part…Since the LAPD had DNA evidence and a physical description from a survivor; they along with the Department of Justice decided to use this case to try out a new technological tool.  It’s called a familial DNA analysis.  This nifty process cross checks DNA with any convicted felons’ DNA on file; looking for close DNA matches through relatives of suspects.  The convicted felon in this case turned out to be Franklin’s son (the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree) and in an undercover operation, a piece of discarded pepperoni pizza was obtained and confirmed that Franklin and the Grim Sleeper were one in the same; putting a whole new meaning to six degrees of separation. 

Mr. Sleeper is set to be arraigned August 9th and was denied bail for obvious reasons.  He could face life in prison or the death penalty.  This case was Black-on-Black crime at its worst, and for years activists in the African-American community have been complaining that it hasn’t received the media attention it deserved.  Maybe it was the race or income of the victims.  Who knows?  Whatever the reason, we can all be put at ease knowing that even when the media seemed to not care the Boys in Blue were on it!  Thanks guys!

Written by <P>By Tiffany Tate, BET News</P>

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