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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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Former Chicago Cop Jason Van Dyke Sentenced For Killing Laquan McDonald

Former Chicago police officer, Jason Van Dyke, could end up serving just over three years in prison for killing 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. Van Dyke was sentenced to 81 months Friday (Jan. 18), and according to the Chicago Tribune , the former officer is eligible to receive credit for good behavior.

Cook County Judge Vincent Gaughan had to decide between sentencing Van Dyke for second-degree murder or aggravated battery, the latter of which carried a mandatory minimum of six years in prison, the Tribune reports. Gaughan decided that it made more sense to sentence Van Dyke for murder, which makes him eligible for early release.

McDonald was shot to death in 2014. At the time, authorities claimed that the teen was behaving erratically while carrying a small knife. The police department waited 13 months to release video of the shooting. In the footage, McDonald is seen walking away from the cops as Van Dyke opens fire, shooting him 16 times. Van Dyke, a 14-year veteran of the CPD, was arrested and quickly released on bond the day that the video was made public. He was found guilty of second-degree murder and more than a dozen charges of aggravated battery last October.

Darren O'Brien, Van Dyke’s lawyer, pushed for sentencing “leniency,” due in part to his client’s clean criminal record. Depicting O’Brien as the victim, Van Dyke stated that his client feared for his life when he killed McDonald.

“He didn’t start the confrontation,” O’Brien said. “He reacted to what Mr. McDonald did..Everything that happened was set in motion by Mr. McDonald.”

Gaughan called the court case a tragedy for families from both parties. “It’s just so senseless that these acts occur because you can see the pain on both sides. This is a tragedy for both sides."

Van Dyke's sentence came a day after a Cook County judge acquitted three CPD officers charged with covering up the shooting.

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Rep. Maxine Waters meets with CBS Vice President of News and Executive Director of Staff Development and Diversity, Kim Goodwin, and CBS Vice President and Washington Bureau Chief, Christopher Isham, on Capitol Hill. (Photo courtesy of Rep. Waters Office)

Maxine Waters Meets With CBS To Discuss Media Diversity And Inclusion

California Rep. Maxine Waters met with CBS' Vice President of News and Executive Director of Staff Development and Diversity to discuss the lack of media diversity and inclusion within the media empire.

Their meeting steemed from the network's recent release of their predominately clear  team for the coverage of the 2020 presidential election. Comprised of 4 white producers, 5 white-passing reporters and 3 journalists of color, though the 2020 campaigns reporting staff does not have any black anchors.

It's Official: The @CBSNews 2020 Election Team has assembled! https://t.co/0GBCw4mj7s pic.twitter.com/E0rUDAkzf7

— Ben Mitchell (@bfmitchell) January 11, 2019

Waters, like other prominent speakers in the black community, have discussed their reluctance to embrace the staff citing issues with who will tackle the roles that racism will play in elections and the role racism has been playing in the United States. Taking the issues directly to the source, the congresswomen had a discussion with the higher up's to talk redirection.

“The CBS representatives accepted full responsibility and understood the troubling optics-- and subsequent public backlash -- that occurred as a result of the rollout of their 2020 presidential election team. CBS admitted that the initial 2020 campaign team did not reflect the diversity that the company had committed to; assured me that it will not happen again; and revealed that in the coming months they will unveil a more diverse and inclusive slate of African American journalists and journalists from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences,"  Waters said in a press statement.

"They also identified key individuals in Washington, D.C. and New York City, NY whom they have brought onto their team to fulfill this mission and ensure their news organization reflects the diversity of the country and the communities who will most certainly be engaged in the 2020 elections."

The 43rd district representative has vowed to hold CBS accountable for their diversity issues and is dedicated to working alongside her colleagues in the Congressional Black Caucus.

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Woman Alleges R. Kelly Sexually Abused Her At 16 In 'Dateline' Interview

Tracy Sampson, a woman who interned with Epic Records at 16, revealed she endured sexual relations with R. Kelly that summer of 1999.

Featured on Dateline NBC's "Accused: The R. Kelly Story," the now 36-year-old appears in her first on-camera interview where she details the relationship that began during her formative years.

Sampson said the singer asked her, "'Can I kiss you?' and I was like, 'No,'" to which he responded, "'Well, give me a hug.' And then, like, when I gave him a hug he just started kissing me."

"I was in love with him," she continued. "I just didn't know what to do. Like, I didn't know if this was normal. I didn't know if this is how adults acted."

Following the incident, Sampson filed a lawsuit against Kelly in 2002. Her suit was settled to the tune of $250,000.

Steven Greenberg, Kelly's current attorney, told NBC that he was not part of the artist's legal team when the alleged abuse took place but maintains that his client is innocent.

According to Greenberg, there is no evidence that proves Kelly, 52, engaged in sexual relations with underage girls "because it didn't happen." However, Surviving R. Kelly calls that statement into question with a six-episode program detailing the sexual and mental abuse endured by some women who met Kelly while underage. Lisa Van Allen, for instance, met the "Sex Me" singer at the age of 17.

NBC's take on the groundbreaking series comes just two weeks after the explosive Lifetime production. The special will air Friday (Jan. 18) at 10 pm EST.

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