A trial date of June 30th of this year was set by Superior Court Judge Kathleen Kennedy in the serial killing case of Lonnie David Franklin, Jr. (62) in Los Angeles. Franklin is charged with ten counts of murder and one count of attempted murder in what has been dubbed the “Grim Sleeper” case because of what was perceived to be a gap in time between the murders of 9 women and one man. The case has dragged on too long say family members of the victims, many who have attended various stages of the proceedings since Franklin’s arrest in 2010. In accordance with a California law passed in 2008 called “Marsy’s Law,” victims have the legal right to communicate their timely trial concerns to the court.
Police linked Franklin to the murders through DNA evidence surreptitiously obtained from seizing utensils he was using at a pizza joint; the DNA connection was first made through a random database that captured the DNA of Franklin’s son.
The victims, many believed to be prostitutes, were killed either by gunshot or strangulation between 1985-2007. Franklin had worked as a mechanic and then for the City of Los Angeles in their sanitation department and was viewed by neighbors as a helpful and friendly man- often assisting those who needed car repairs or other mechanical-type assistance. His wife remains a regular visitor at the jail where he is housed pending trial. The case rocked the fears of many L.A. residents who live near or around areas known for prostitution; it was not until the DNA match turned up a single suspect that the cases generated serious national coverage. As in many serial killing cases, investigators had a DNA sample that matched evidence collected from all the victims, but they did not have a suspect to tie it to. That is why many states have laws requiring all defendants convicted of a felony to submit their DNA samples that are then kept in national databases; some states have tried to require misdemeanor offenders to provide samples as well, but this has attracted substantial opposition from liberal and conservative politicians based on privacy concerns.
Franklin’s victims are believed to be: 1. Deborah Jackson (29)-1985; 2. Henrietta Wright (34)- 1986; 3. Thomas Steele (36)- 1986; 4. Bernita Sparks (26)- 1987; 5. Alicia “Monique” Alexander (18)- 1988; 6. Mary Lowe (26)- 1987; 7. Lachrica Jefferson- 1988; 8. Enietra Marqette Washington (Survivor)- 1988; 9. Princess Berthomieux (15)- 2002; 10. Valerie McCorvey (35)-2003; and, 11. Janecia Peters (25)- 2007.
In many of the cases, Franklin is thought to have raped the victims, wrapped them in carpet, or similar material, and then disposed of them in darkened alleys or dumpsters analogous to the way Nykkole Estepp was treated by her serial killers.
The trial will bring an end to the waiting for the family of the victims in a case that has attracted some odd happenings; at one point, a female named Victoria Redstall managed to visit with Franklin when he was in jail much to the concern of the lawyers in the case. She has since appeared in a video to explain why she likes to talk with serial killers.
The whole case was virtually broke by Christine Peilisek, a former reporter for the “L.A. Weekly”- she is credited with coining the nickname, “Grim Sleeper”. Stay tuned.
UPDATE– LA, CALIFORNIA, June 6, 2016, The LA Times reports that Lonnie David Franklin, Jr. (63) was recommended for the death penalty by a Los Angeles County jury. The paper writes the “serial killer should be put to death, closing an important legal chapter in the grisly slayings of at least nine women and one teenage girl that terrorized South L.A. for more than two decades. The verdict against Lonnie David Franklin Jr., a 63-year-old former sanitation worker, drew muted sighs of relief from victims’ relatives, who passed tissues and sobbed as each victim’s name was read aloud. .He was convicted last month of 10 murders between 1985 and 2007, but authorities believe he is responsible for more.”