lonnie franklin jr.
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Jury Calls For Death Penalty For Lonnie 'Grim Sleeper' Franklin Jr.

Lonnie David Franklin Jr. is given the death penalty in Los Angeles for killing women between 1985 and 2008.

Former sanitation worker and serial killer, Lonnie David Franklin Jr., might face the death penalty in Los Angeles, USA Today reports. Franklin has been convicted of brutally killing women for three decades, slaying at least nine women and one teenage girl in South L.A. He received the name “grim sleeper," for the 14-year gap between his murders in 1988 and 2002.

Franklin constantly stalked South L.A., preying on women that were high on drugs and vulnerable during the 1980s crack cocaine epidemic. He would dump their bodies along alleys or in the trash when he was finished with them.

Franklin was taken into custody in 2010, where prosecutors built his case based on DNA from saliva found on victims' bodies and ballistics evidence.

Enietra Washington, a victim who survived Franklin’s attempted murder, testified her attacker took pictures of her body. This allowed investigators to link Franklin to the death of other victims, as they were able to seize pictures of Washington and other women from the killer.

The jury and prosecutors deliberated with the defense team, who argued the defendant should face life in prison as opposed to the death penalty.

The Los Angeles Times states, “As the court clerk announced the death verdicts for each of the murder counts, Franklin, 63, stared blankly, as he had throughout much of the trial. The defendant, seated near a projector that displayed pictures of his victims’ battered and bloody bodies, never looked up.”

Prosecutors were able to connect Franklin to five more killings throughout the case, but decided they didn’t want to charge him and prolong the trial. He was already being executed and that would only result in further delays.

Franklin wasn’t the only man creeping in South L.A. Michael Hughes, killing seven women, and Chester Turner, killing 14 women and a fetus, were also serial killers operating in the same area. They are currently both on death row.

As the victims' family members continued to mourn their death throughout the trial, they were relieved about the verdict. Several years later, the grim sleeper will finally pay a price for taking the lives of many.

Deputy District Attorney, Beth Silverman, developed a close bond with the families who were involved in the case throughout the years. “We did what we could do to bring this chapter to a close in the best way we could.”

No official date has been set on when he will face execution, but he's scheduled to return to court on August 10.

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7.7. Magnitude Earthquake Rocks Jamaica, Cuba And Miami

A powerful earthquake struck in the Caribbean Sea on Tuesday (Jan. 28) triggering temporary tsunami warnings and tremors felt as far away as South Florida. The 7.7. magnitude quake hit the waters between Jamaica, Cuba and the Cayman Islands, according to the United States Geological Survey and the International Tsunami Information Center.

The quake, which struck roughly 86 miles northwest off the coast of Montego Bay, Jamaica, resulted in multiple aftershocks including a a 6.1 tremor near the Cayman Island, and a 4.4 aftershock. “Light shaking” was also reported in Miami, Ft. Lauderdale and West Palm Beach.

“Despite the large size of the earthquake, the fact that it occurred offshore and away from high population areas lessened its societal impact,” the USGS said. The organization described the quake as “moderate shaking” in parts of Cuba and Jamaica.

The quake comes nearly a month after a 6.4. magnitude earthquake hit Puerto Rico, but the USGS said that the “seismic events” were unrelated.

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Shaquille O’Neal Tears Up While Honoring His “Little Brother” Kobe Bryant

Shaquille O’Neal didn’t hold back his tears while reflecting on the tragic death of Kobe Bryant during a special edition of Inside the NBA. The hourlong tribute episode, filmed from the Los Angeles Staples Center on Tuesday (Jan. 28), was dedicated to the late NBA legend.

“I haven’t felt a pain that sharp in a while,” said Shaq after revealing that he hadn't been sleeping since his sister died from cancer last year. “I’m 47 years old, lost two grandmothers, [my father], lost my sister, and now I lost a little brother.”

Shaq re-lived the moment that he found out about Bryant's death, and the "final blow" of learning that the retired Lakers player's 13-year-old daughter, Gigi, died with her father. Making matters that more emotional, Bryant reached out to Shaq's son, Shakir, via text message, hour before he passed away in a helicopter crash.

“In life, sometimes instead of holding back certain things, we should just do. We up here, we work a lot, and I think a lot of times we take stuff for granted. I don’t talk to you guys as much as I need to,” Shaq told his co-hosts Earnie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, and Dwyane Wade.

Later in the emotional moment, Shaq reminisced about some of his final conversations with Bryant, and all of the things that he’ll miss the most about him.

“With the loss of my father, my sister and [Kobe] that’s the only thing I wish, [that] I could just say something to him again.”

Shaq admitted that Bryant’s death has rocked him to the core. “It definitely changes me because I work a lot. I work probably more than the average guy, but I just really have to now take time and call and say ‘I love you.’ Rick Fox called and said ‘Man I love you.’ [Brian] Shaw called me, so I’m going to try and do a better job of reaching out and talking to people instead of procrastinating, because you never know. Life is too short. I could never imagine nothing like this. I’ve never seen anything like this.

“The fact that we lost probably the world’s greatest Laker, the world’s greatest basketball player,” he continued as tears streamed down his face. “People are gonna say ‘take your time’ and get better but it’s gonna' be hard for me. I already don’t sleep anyway…but I’ll figure it out.”

Shaq went on to extend condolences to Bryant’s family, and the families of the other seven victims of the helicopter crash that claimed the lives of the NBA legend and his young daughter

“It hit all of us out of nowhere. I didn’t want to believe it,” he said of first learning of Bryant’s death. “I just wish I could be able to say one last thing to the people that we lost because once your’e gone, you’re gone forever, and we should never take stuff like that for granted.”

Hear more on Shaq and Kobe's bond in the videos below.

“I haven’t felt a pain that sharp in a while.. it definitely changes me.”’@SHAQ on the loss of his brother, Kobe. pic.twitter.com/dM5i0DDgGK

— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) January 29, 2020

“This man knows our true relationship.”@SHAQ on the mutual respect between him and Kobe. pic.twitter.com/SGGGpsoTiz

— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) January 29, 2020

Kobe had big plans from the start. pic.twitter.com/MqFdyPVQnj

— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) January 29, 2020

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Filmmaker Kobe Bryant, winner of the Best Animated Short Film award for 'Dear Basketball,' poses in the press room during the 90th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on March 4, 2018 in Hollywood, California
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Oscars To Pay Tribute To Kobe Bryant

In 2018, Kobe Bryant became the first pro-athlete to win an Oscar Award for his short animated film, Dear Basketball. Now, the annual ceremony will honor the late figure during Sunday’s showcase (Feb. 9), according to The Hollywood Reporter.

On Monday (Jan. 27), the Oscar Nominees Luncheon took a moment of silence in memory of Bryant and the other seven passengers on the helicopter, including his 13-year-old daughter Gianna. In a recap by Deadline, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ (AMPAS) president David Rubin noted that Bryant sat in that very same room two years ago.

During his Oscars acceptance speech, Bryant thanked his family and said he’s excited to know that athletes in his profession don’t just “shut up and dribble” but explore other mediums of inspiration. “This is not supposed to happen,” he said during an interview with Jimmy Kimmel. “I’m supposed to play basketball. Not write something that wins an Oscar.”

Throughout the interview, the Los Angeles Lakers legend said his win unlocked a new realm of responsibility to usher in diverse minds to the animation world. “How do I provide more opportunities for even more diverse and new voices to be heard in this industry? In the animation business it’s a serious lack of diversity," he continued. "When I won that award the other night, I was the first African-American to ever win that award in that category.”

Dear Basketball, directed by Glen Keane and narrated by Bryant, tells the story of his road to retirement from the NBA in 2015. The short film also won the Annie Award for Best Animated Short Subject and a Sports Emmy Award for Outstanding Post-Produced Graphic Design.

On Sunday (Jan. 26), Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven other passengers aboard a helicopter died after the aircraft crashed in Calabasas, California. Investigators are still piecing together the exact cause of the incident.

They doubted a kid could make it in the NBA and he proved them wrong.

They doubted he could win a championship and he proved them wrong.

They doubted he could make movies and he won an Oscar.

Like all great artists, Kobe Bryant proved the doubters wrong.

Rest in peace. pic.twitter.com/1fYnKHbnt7

— The Academy (@TheAcademy) January 26, 2020

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