A 57-year-old man was arrested and charged on July 6 after authorities identified him as a serial killer responsible for murders spanning over 25 years.
According to The Associated Press, Los Angeles police arrested Lonnie Franklin after identifying him as “The Grim Sleeper,” a long-hunted serial killer in the Los Angeles area. Franklin was charged with 10 counts of murder, one count of attempted murder and special circumstance allegations of multiple murders. If convicted, Franklin could face the death penalty.
“Today is a good day,” Donnell Alexander, the brother of one of the victims told police, according to the AP.
Authorities say Franklin’s alleged attacks occurred between 1985 and 2007 and primarily targeted Black females, with the exception of one man. The killer was dubbed with “The Grim Sleeper” nickname because he took a 14-year break from the crimes, from 1988 to 2002.
Franklin was charged based on DNA obtained from his son, who was in a California prison on a weapons charge. By using a technique known as familial DNA search, Franklin’s son’s sample came back similar to those found in the serial killings.
According to CBS News, cops barricaded the block around Franklin’s house, where the arrest was made. Neighbors described him as “friendly” and “quiet” and said he was known to often initiate general conversation to pedestrians in the neighborhood.
“The Grim Sleeper” case had been open since the ‘80s with the only leads being the DNA found at the scenes and a description by the sole survivor of the attacks. Throughout the decade, other leads became scarce, but detectives built a special unit after a 2007 attack, in which 25-year-old Janice Peters was killed and placed in a trash can.
The victims were usually shot, strangled, or both, mainly after a sexual assault. Ten of the victims were women and many were prostitutes. Authorities believe the male victim who was killed in 1987 was a friend of another victim or may have discovered the killer’s identity.
The only survivor of the attacks told authorities she was attacked after a man offered a ride to her sister’s house. Once she got in, she said they briefly talked until he pulled out a gun and shot her in the chest. She said the attacker sexually assaulted her before throwing her out of the vehicle.
According to the AP, the early killings happened during a time of extreme violence in parts of Los Angeles, where many young females were falling victim to crack cocaine and other drug addictions.