The “Grim Sleeper” was a nickname given to a suspected serial killer that started killing young vulnerable women in as early as 1985 and kept going until 2007. The man convicted of those crimes, Lonnie David Franklin Jr., has been convicted of killing at least 10 young women, but police theorize that he is responsible for as many as 25 killings in that time period.
Today, following the conviction of the so-called Grim Sleeper, Franklin has been sentenced to death for each and every count of murder that he had been convicted of and the courtroom was a scene of tremendous drama and sorrow, as reported by the Los Angeles Times.
The “Grim Sleeper” Lonnie David Franklin Jr. is sentenced to death after killing 10 women in South LA from 1985-2007 pic.twitter.com/8RfDRIEYrG
— AJ+ (@ajplus) August 10, 2016
Franklin earned the nickname of the Grim Sleeper because he was believed to have gone dormant between the years of 1988 and 2002. But other experts believe that he never really went to sleep, but rather was quite crafty with covering up his crimes.
The Grim Sleeper, Franklin, is a 63-year-old man who spent a large part of his life working as a garbage collector and living a seemingly low-key lifestyle. Franklin had been so good at covering up his crimes that he had a decades-long run as a serial killer, and the Grim Sleeper killings seemed like they could have continued for as long as he wanted them to.
Although the Grim Sleeper did indeed do a good job of covering his tracks, there was one fatal flaw in his plan to stay under the radar and continue to kill young, vulnerable women. That flaw was when he had a son.
There is a better than good chance that Franklin could have taken his Grim Sleeper persona all the way to his grave if it weren’t for his son, who got pinched for a crime and put into the system. The basic reason for the Los Angeles District Attorney to be able to prosecute Franklin for the Grim Sleeper killings was because he had left forensic evidence, DNA, behind for the police and prosecutors to be able to link the murders to one specific perpetrator. But all of that evidence was useless if they did not have a DNA donor in the system that they could match it up to. So the case just kept on going.
— Mekahlo Medina (@MekahloNBCLA) May 5, 2016
But then, a big break came in the case and prosecutors and investigators finally found a match, of sorts, to the DNA evidence that they had on file for the Grim Sleeper killings. That DNA was only a partial match, though. It was of a man whose DNA had been entered into the system, and it revealed that this man was related to the Grim Sleeper killer.
It did not take long for investigators to pick up the trail of the man’s father, Lonnie Franklin, and tail the man wherever he went. They later picked up a slice of pizza he had eaten and tested the DNA on it. Sure enough, they had finally found the Grim Sleeper killer and earlier this year, Lonnie Franklin was convicted of all 10 counts of the Grim Sleeper murders. But it wasn’t until today that Franklin had been dealt the next blow in his life. He had also been read a judgment and penalty for each count of murder, which the judge issued him a death sentence as punishment for his heinous crimes.
‘Grim Sleeper’ apprehended with DNA from pizza slice https://t.co/VBF92Tdt36
— Jess Corbin BOOKS (@jesscorbinBKS) July 9, 2016
As expected, the victims families of the Grim Sleeper had their chance to have a say as well. One of those included Laverne Peters, who spoke on behalf of her 25-year-old daughter who had been killed by the Grim Sleeper and discarded in a dumpster.
“The defendant took my daughter, murdered her, put her in a plastic bag – a trash bag – like she was trash,” Laverne Peters said to the court before Franklin was sentenced. “My hope is that he spends the rest of his glory days in his jail cell, which will become his trash bag.”
There were many more colorful exchanges in the courtroom today, but the Grim Sleeper did not seem to change his demeanor at all after the verdict was read.
[Photo by Al Seib-Pool/Getty Images]