57-year-old Enietra Washington didn’t think she would live to recount her harrowing ordeal as a victim of a serial killer, but on Wednesday, the lone survivor of a killer of women, who police say scoured the streets of South L.A. for decades, testified in the trial of alleged murderer Lonnie Franklin, Jr. He stands accused of killing seven young black woman from 1985 to 1988, the year he met Enietra. Three more victims were found in the 2000s. His grisly crimes earned him the nickname the Grim Sleeper.
Washington said she survived a bullet to the chest, and as she lay dying, she begged the man who shot her to take her to a hospital. While recounting the terrifying experience from 28 years ago, she explained how she warned Franklin, Jr. that she’d haunt him if he took her life and didn’t provide for her kids. Her daughter, now grown, began to cry as her mother testified, BuzzFeed notes.
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) February 26, 2016
Enietra’s nightmare began when the then 30-year-old mother of two was walking to a friend’s house and a strange man pulled up next to her and politely offered her a ride in his orange Pinto.
“It reminded me of Hot Wheels, the little miniature cars my kids used to have,” Washington said.
When she declined the offer, the man continued to press, and at one point saying, “That’s what’s wrong with you black women. People can’t be nice to you.”
“I guess I appeared stand-offish and when he said it, I thought he was being nice and I felt sorry for him,” she said. “I thought maybe I came off rough and I said OK you can take me to the house,” Washington testified.
She made the dreadful mistake of feeling sorry for the man, and accept his offer for a ride. After driving for a while, Washington recalled how all of a sudden, “everything just went really, eerily quiet.”
“Don’t touch that door, bi*ch, or I’ll shoot you again,” the killer told her when she reached for the door. It was then that she realized she had been shot. She alleges Franklin then sexually assaulted her before pushing her out of his car, per People.
Now working as a nurse’s assistant, Washington came face to face with the alleged Grim Sleeper serial killer in court this week, and confessed that she never knew the name of the man who tried to kill her. On Thursday, when asked by prosecutors if she had any doubt about the identify of the man who nearly took her life, Enietra didn’t hesitate to confirm it was Lonnie Franklin, Jr.
“100 percent,” Washington said. “Less hair now, he still looks the same.”
— National Post (@nationalpost) February 26, 2016
Prosecutors have said each of Lonnie’s victims has been linked to him with DNA, firearms evidence, or both. However, Franklin’s defense attorney questioned whether or not a thorough investigation was conducted. Washington said that as she was going in and out of consciousness, Franklin raped her and had taken a Polaroid photo of her. That photo would later be found inside his longtime South L.A. home, according to prosecutors.
“I remember trying to fight him,” she said, “pushing him away, and then he started pushing me.”
After the attack, Franklin restarted the car and she again reached for the door handle, this time the killer didn’t offer a threatening warning, he simply pushed her out the car.
“He just pushed me out and the door opened at the same time,” she said.
Washington said she doesn’t remember how long she lay in the street before she regained consciousness and recognized that the street he dumped her on was the street of her friend’s home. She made it to the home’s porch, and when no one answered the door, she waited until her friend arrived and called paramedics. The injuries Washington sustained required surgery. It would be another year before she fully recovered, but the mental scars have lasted a lifetime.
The Grim Sleeper serial killer shot most of his victims with a .25-caliber pistol, while others were strangled and their bodies were discovered in dumpsters and alleyways located in sleazy parts of southern Los Angeles. Lonnie Franklin, Jr. has pleaded not guilty.
[Image courtesy AP Photo/Nick Ut]