Jury: Death Penalty For 'Grim Sleeper' Serial Killer

| by Michael Doherty
Lonnie Franklin Jr.Lonnie Franklin Jr.

During a trial on June 6, the jury recommended the Los Angeles serial killer who became known as the "Grim Sleeper" should be sentenced to death.

The judge set a formal sentencing date for Aug. 10, after the jury recommended the death penalty on all 10 murder counts for which Lonnie Franklin Jr., 63, was found guilty. The first-degree murder charges included crimes dating back more than 30 years. The charges include the murders of nine women and a teenage girl in Los Angeles, according to The Associated Press.

"I'm just glad it's over and that he'll never get out to hurt anyone else,"  Diana Ware, the stepmother of Barbara Ware, who was shot and killed in 1987, told the Los Angeles Times. "Justice was served."

The "Grim Sleeper," as the killer came to be known because of a decades-long lull in his slayings, targeted women who were sex workers or drug addicts, and all of his known victims were black women.

Police did not alert the public despite the fear that a serial killer was targeting black women, which led some critics to argue that the reason the Grim Sleeper was able to kill for so long was in part due to police carelessness.

The bodies were disposed of in gruesome ways, such as being left naked in alleys and in dumpsters. Lachrica Jefferson, who was killed in 1988, had a napkin on her face with the word 'AIDS' written on it. The women ranged in age from 18-year-old Alicia Alexander, who was found in an alley in September 1988, to 35-year-old Valerie McCorvey, who was found strangled and sexually assaulted in 2003.

"They were so vicious, they were so calculated, and they were so demeaning," said Deputy District Attorney Beth Silverman. "The way that these women ended up, half of them naked ... all of them in filthy alleys."

Enietra Washington managed to get away from the killer. At the trial, she told the jury her memories of getting a ride from Franklin, who then shot her in the chest as she sat in the passenger seat. She remembers the man sexually assaulting her and taking a photo of her as she lost consciousness. She was left for dead on the side of the road, but incredibly, she survived, becoming the only known survivor of the Grim Sleeper.

"That's the person who shot me," Washington said, almost 30 years after her terrifying encounter. When Silverman asked Washington how certain she was that Franklin was the man she met that night, she answered, "One hundred percent."

Source: AP via Daily Mail, Los Angeles Times (2) / Photo credit:  LAPD via New York Daily News

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