Trials & Litigation

'Grim Sleeper' is convicted of 10 murders by Los Angeles jury

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A Los Angeles serial killer known as the “Grim Sleeper” was convicted Thursday of 10 murders following a trial of nearly three months.

Jurors deliberated for less than two days before convicting Lonnie David Franklin Jr., 63, on all charges, including the attempted murder of an 11th victim who survived and testified against him, reports CNN.

Prosecutors said two more women Franklin victimized while serving in the U.S. Army in Germany in the 1970s may testify against him during the penalty phase of the Los Angeles Superior Court trial, which begins next week. The government is seeking a death sentence in the capital case.

One of the murders Franklin is now convicted of committing occurred more than 30 years ago. Before he was identified as the culprit in the case, the “Grim Sleeper” suspect got his moniker due to a substantial time lapse between earlier and later slayings. The killings began in 1985 and concluded in 2007, with a 14-year gap in the middle, reports the Los Angeles Times (sub. req.).

However, prosecutors now speculate that Franklin continued killing during that period, but that the crimes aren’t known, reports the Associated Press. Modern forensic evidence tied him to the crimes, although defense lawyer Seymour Amster challenged it. At closing, he argued that “a mystery man with a mystery gun and mystery DNA” was the true culprit.

The bullet removed from the chest of surviving victim Enietra Washington was matched to seven of the Grim Sleeper killings. She testified that, as she was losing consciousness, Franklin took a photo of her. The photo was found by police more than 20 years later, hidden in Franklin’s garage, the AP reports.

Another Los Angeles Times (sub. req.) story provides more information about the murder victims. All were black, and some were addicted to drugs and worked as prostitutes.

“They suffered from the same frailties and the same imperfections that all humans do, and they had the same hopes and the same dreams for their futures that we all have,” said deputy district attorney Beth Silverman during closing arguments.

“None of them deserved to be brutally dumped like trash as if their lives had no meaning.”

The New York Times (reg. req.) also has a story.

Related coverage: “Judge in ‘Grim Sleeper’ serial murder case OKs use of DNA cop got by posing as restaurant busboy” “Trial begins in 10 ‘Grim Sleeper’ slayings”

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