Verdict in for ‘Grim Sleeper’ Serial Killer Who Targeted Black Women

Verdict in for ‘Grim Sleeper’ Serial Killer Who Targeted Black Women

Justice finally met after a 20-year killing spree.

Published May 6, 2016

The Grim Sleeper got a rude awakening when he was found guilty of killing 10 Black women.

On Thursday, a jury returned a guilty verdict and Lonnie Franklin Jr. will now face sentencing on May 12.

The former garbage attendant for the Los Angeles Police Department killed his first victim in 1985 and continued murdering young Black women over a span of 20 years. Residents in South Central Los Angeles complained at the time that the murders weren’t being spotlighted due to the victims’ race.

Franklin went on a 14-year hiatus following an attempted killing, which earned him the nickname “Grim Sleeper” by police.

Now, prosecutors are backtracking on the idea that he rested between killings and think there are other victims.

Alicia Alexander was only 18 when Franklin left her naked body under a mattress in an alley in 1988 after he’d already murdered six others.

“They read it and I said, ‘We got him!’” Alexander’s father, Porter Alexander Jr., said after Thursday’s court proceedings. “It took all this time, but we got him.”

The 63-year-old serial killer was arrested in July 2010 and six years later his trial began in February.

“The day of reckoning is here,” said Alexander at the start of the trial. He is now 75 but was 48 when his daughter Alicia was murdered.

“You can’t help but be excited that you lived to see an end to this madness,” Alexander said. “It’s been a long road and I’m glad I’ll physically be able to be there.”

All of Franklin’s victims, the youngest a 15-year-old girl, were either found shot or strangled and their bodies left in alleys or garbage bins. Most of the women had traces of coke in their systems.

Investigators revisited the case in 2007 after final victim Janecia Peters’s body was found on Jan. 1. When Franklin’s son was arrested on a felony charge, his DNA showed similarities to evidence found on the victims. An officer went undercover as a busboy at a birthday party the elder Franklin was confirmed to attend and retrieved pizza crusts and napkins with his DNA. That was the final link investigators needed. Franklin’s DNA matched with material found on the breasts and clothing of many of the women and on the zip tie of a trash bag that held Peters’s body.

Paired with the DNA evidence, a key witness, Enietra Washington, who was the sole known survivor of Franklin’s attacks, helped firm up the case. She was shot in the chest about two months after Alexander was killed and survived to tell her story.

Not only did her attack fit the pattern of the other killings, but the bullet removed from her came from the same gun used to shoot Alexander and six others. And that infamous Polaroid photo Washington told police Franklin took of her as she was losing consciousness was found hidden behind a wall in his garage.

Franklin was also found guilty of one count of attempted murder for Washington’s shooting and prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for the convicted serial killer.

Written by Zayda Rivera

(Photo: Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via AP, Pool, File)


Latest in news