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