Lonnie Franklin Jr.

Grim Sleeper: Jury Recommends Death Penalty For Serial Killer Lonnie Franklin Jr.

Lonnie Franklin Jr., who is commonly referred to as the “Grim Sleeper,” was sentenced to death by a Los Angeles County Jury on Monday. Authorities believe the 63-year-old man is responsible for the deaths of at least 10 people, including nine women and one teenage girl. According to reports, the victims were killed in and around Los Angeles between August 1985 and July 2007.

Although it is unclear when the Grim Sleeper’s killing spree began, authorities believe he killed his first victim, 29-year-old Debra Jackson, on August 9, 1985. As reported by Tiki-Toki.com, Jackson was a waitress, whose body was found in an alley between West Gage and South Vermont Avenues. Authorities later confirmed she died as the result of two gunshot wounds to the chest.

It remained unclear whether Debra was sexually assaulted. However, officials noted she was found fully clothed and her body was wrapped in a carpet remnant.

The body of Henrietta Wright, 35, was discovered one year and three days later on August 10, 1995, on West Vernon Avenue. Like Debra Jackson, Wright was also shot twice in the chest. She was also found fully clothed and wrapped in a large blanket.

The following day, police found the body of Thomas Steel, 36, on 71st street in Los Angeles with a gunshot wound to the head. Although he is not a confirmed victim of Lonnie Franklin Jr., authorities believe he may be the Grim Sleeper’s only male victim.

Over the next two years, the same perpetrator was suspected in the deaths of 32-year-old Barbara Ware, 25-year-old Bernita Sparks, 26-year-old Mary Lowe, 22-year-old Lachrica Jefferson, and 18-year-old Alicia Alexander.

TheGrimSleeer.com reports all five women were shot in the chest and dumped on the street or in an alley. In many cases, the women were found fully clothed and their bodies were either wrapped in or covered with large blankets, carpets, and other refuse.

In November 1988, 29-year-old Enietra Margette survived a brutal attack which was thought to have been carried out by Lonnie Franklin Jr. Like the other seven women, Margette was shot in the chest with a.25 caliber handgun. However, she managed to survive and provide authorities with a description of her attacker.

According to Margette, she was attacked and sexually assaulted by a black man who appeared to be in his 30s. The perpetrator, who drove a “rust, red, or orange Ford Pinto,” was described as being “smart” and “preppy.”

It is unclear why, however, authorities believe the Grim Sleeper went on a hiatus between November 1988 and March 2002. This hiatus led authorities to give the killer his infamous nickname.

On March 19, 2002, 14-year-old Princess Berthomieux was found dead in an alley between South Van Ness Boulevard and Inglewood. Unlike Lonnie Franklin Jr.’s previous alleged victims, Princess was killed by strangulation. However, she was a suspected victim of the serial killer because her body was dumped in an alley.

Authorities later confirmed DNA evidence linked her to the same man who killed the other women.

The Grim Sleeper’s other potential victims include 35-year-old Valerie McCorvey, who was killed on July 11, 2003, and 25-year-old Janecia Peters, who was killed on January 1, 2007. According to reports, Valerie was strangled to death and Janecia was shot. The bodies of both women were dumped in alleys.

On July 7, 2010, DNA evidence led authorities to arrest Lonnie Franklin Jr. in the unsolved murders. Los Angeles detectives later recovered thousands of photographs and videos from the suspect’s home, which suggest he was fascinated with violent sex and death.

Authorities also discovered what prosecutors later referred to as the Grim Sleeper’s “trophy case.” Amid the morbid collection, authorities found items belonging to several women, including photo IDs and drivers licenses.

Lonnie Franklin Jr. was subsequently charged in the deaths of Debra Jackson, Henrietta Wright, Barbara Ware, Bernita Sparks, Mary Lowe, Lachrica Jefferson, Alicia Alexander, Princess Berthomieux, Valerie McCorvey, and Janecia Peters.

Los Angeles Times reports the Grim Sleeper is also suspected in the deaths of Georgia Mae Thomas, 43, Inez Warren, 28, Rolena Morris, 31, Sharon Dismuke 21, and Ayellah Marshall, 18.

Although Lonnie Franklin Jr. was not formally charged in the deaths of those five women, who were killed between 2000 and 2006, his suspected involvement was presented to jurors during the sentencing phase of the suspected serial killer’s trial.

The Grim Sleeper was convicted in the deaths of the nine women and one teen listed in the criminal complaint. On Monday, the Los Angeles County jury recommended the death penalty for Lonnie Franklin Jr.

[Photo via AP Pool/Nick Ut, File]

Comments