Grim Sleeper Suspect
Los Angeles police detectives are reexamining at least 30 unsolved killings of women in South Los Angeles, seeing if they can link any of the homicides to the man accused of being the Grim Sleeper serial killer, Lonnie David Franklin Jr., who appeared briefly in court Thursday, where he was charged with 10 counts of murder.
Franklin allegedly killed seven women between 1985 and 1988, when his crimes seemed to abruptly stop, authorities say. The slayings resumed in 2002, another murder happened in 2003 and a third one in 2007, police said. They suspect Franklin may be responsible for more homicides during that gap.
Detectives have spent the last two days serching Franklin’s home, collecting photo albums, documents, business cards and other records that they hope can provide a better picture of the suspect and perhaps provide links to other victims. A law enforcement source familiar with the investigation said police recovered multiple firearms from Franklin’s home and will be testing the weapons to see if there is a match to the ballistics evidence from the crime scenes. There is no DNA evidence in any of the 30 cases, which is significant because authorities said they tied Franklin to some of the 10 killings based on information from DNA databases. Many of the cases are three decades old and occurred during a period when several serial killers were allegedly operating in South L.A.
To many of his neighbors and customers, Lonnie Franklin Jr. was just a friendly mechanic who often stopped to chat as he tinkered on cars in the front driveway of his mint-green house on 81st Street. But after police identified him as a serial killer Wednesday, other neighbors recalled traits that suddenly seemed chilling. Some neighbors said Franklin made no secret of enjoying the company of sex workers, who he would often bring back to a camper parked in his backyard filled with old cars and junk. Another neighbor, Sherwood Howard, said Franklin would show off nude photos he took of the women from the neck down and talk about his exploits. He kept the pictures in the garage.
The 57-year-old man was arrested at least 15 times over four decades but was never sent to state prison despite the recommendation of probation officers, court and jail records show. He was arrested for burglary, car theft, firearms possession and assaults, but his crimes never were considered serious enough to send him to state prison or to warrant his entry in the state’s DNA database, authorities said. Despite the long and varied record, Franklin did not commit the kind of violent crimes against women that might have drawn the attention of detectives in the Grim Sleeper case. Investigators now plan to use DNA to tie Franklin to dozens more murders, looking at more than 30 cold case files dating to 1984, Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck said Friday.
“Now that we know who he is, where he lives, the cars he drove, have people to interview, we will go over all those old cases and look for connections,” Beck said.
-articles from skcentral.com rewritten and adapted by admin-