This is going to be an intense court case.
On Tuesday, Lonnie Franklin, Jr. began his trial for the murder of one girl and nine women over the span of a few decades.
The 63-year-old is a a former garbage collector and police garage attendant from Los Angeles and is believed to not only have killed the ten women, but could actually be the “Grim Sleeper” serial killer who was active from 1985 and 2007, with a break between 1988 and 2002.
But as if that weren’t scary enough, it came out in court that the “Grim Sleeper” could possibly be linked to as many as 180 deaths!
While Franklin denies the murders, it doesn’t look too good for him as detectives found a collection of more than 1,000 pictures and hundreds of hours of video in his home.
Police have investigated the identities and whereabouts of several of the women in the photographs, but at least 30 of them remain unknown.
Prosecutors say they have tied Lonnie to the murders through physical evidence, DNA samples collected from the bodies, as well as ballistic matches recovered from crime scenes — plus, the ten identified bodies were all found within five miles of his South L.A. home.
On top of that, Enietra Washington claims she is a surviving victim of Lonnie’s as she says she was shot in the chest and sexually assaulted before she escaped. She will serve as the prosecutor’s star witness in the case.
This case has been a long time coming as the “Grim Sleeper” stalked the streets of Los Angeles for quite some time. In fact, in the ’80s there were over 30 detectives that investigated the case as it ultimately went cold.
The alleged “Grim Sleeper” wasn’t arrested until 2010 after a special squad of detectives was formed as a result of Janecia Peters ‘ murder in 2007.
Unfortunately for police, Lonnie’s DNA profile had been discarded by mistake so they decided to look into DNA evidence found at different crime scenes to see if they could identify a family member to narrow the search.
As a result, the testing lead them to Franklin, Jr.’s son Christopher who had been found guilty on a weapons charges. From there, police launched a sting investigation and secured a sample of Lonnie’s DNA linking him to the murders.
The court room was filled with emotions as several family members of the victims had to leave either due to the upsetting nature of the case or photographs that were shown.
We’re definitely interested to see how the trial goes and will keep you posted on what happens!