Convicted serial killer Lonnie Franklin Jr., known as the “Grim Sleeper,” has been sentenced to death in the murders of 10 women over two decades in South Los Angeles.
The jury in Franklin’s case handed down the final judgement this afternoon, after the more than three-month trial concluded in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom.
Franklin was convicted of 10 counts of first-degree murder in the killing of nine women and a 15-year-old-girl who were all fatally shot or strangled.
Authorities stated some of Franklin’s victims were prostitutes and most had traces of cocaine in their systems. All the bodies were found dumped in alleyways, bushes, and dumpsters or hidden under mattresses.
The killings from 1985 to 2007 were dubbed the work of the “Grim Sleeper” because of an apparent 14-year gap after one woman survived a gunshot to the chest in 1988.
In 2010, Franklin Jr., then 57, and a married father of 2, as well as an LAPD mechanic and sanitation worker for the city of Los Angeles, was arrested and charged with the murders. A grand jury indictment was issued about a year later. Franklin remained in jail for a few years following his arrest, awaiting trial, because of the amount of time it took prosecutors to gather and prepare what was said to be a large amount of evidence in the case, some dating back as much as 30 years.
Franklin’s defense, in an attempt to spare his life, questioned a “mystery gun” used to fatally shoot 8 of the victims that was never found. They also warned about the grief of the victims’ families that would be revisited every time an appeal of his case would come up; so his attorneys obviously plan to appeal. This could go on for several more years.
A feature film inspired by this story was produced by, and aired on the Lifetime network 2 years ago. Titled “The Grim Sleeper,” it starred Dreama Walker, Macy Gray, Ernie Hudson and Michael O’Neill.
More recently, a documentary feature on Franklin’s killing spree, directed by Nick Broomfield (“Biggie and Tupac”), was released in a limited theatrical run here in the USA, and then premiered on HBO last year. Broomfield’s documentary, titled “Tales of the Grim Sleeper,” and which, of the 2 films, is the one I’d recommend you see, digs into the case of the notorious serial killer who terrorized South Central Los Angeles over a span of twenty-five years.
Neither film is streaming on Netflix; but both should be on other video platforms like DVD and digital rent/download. The latter is available on demand via HBOGo and HBONow.
Watch a trailer for Broomfield’s documentary below: