Despite the best efforts by a defense counsel that argued the case for other potential suspects valiantly, the California serial killer known as the “Grim Sleeper” was convicted on 10 counts of murder in Los Angeles today. The killer, real name Lonnie Franklin Jr., has been on trial for close to a month for a stretch of murders starting all the way back in 1987 and lasting until 2007. Franklin’s moniker was given due to a 13-year break in the string of murders from 1989 to 2002. Tragically, his victims ranged in age from as young as 15-years old to 36 and most were either drug addicts or prostitutes, and all were found in Downtown Los Angeles with a wound from a .25 caliber gun.
According to multiple reports from the LA Times, Franklin Jr. is also suspected of killing up to five additional people during his active years, but the prosecution was not able to fully connect him to those victims. There is also speculation that he may have started his spree earlier than police suspect even though bodies were never found or connected to the rest of the string. Horrifyingly, he kept photos of every victim in his home for reasons unknown – which eventually was the last piece of the puzzle that authorities needed to connect Franklin Jr. with the crimes.
The awful details of his murders aside, the trial’s outcome is a closed chapter for so many families who never got justice for their loved ones. A few comments from the families after the trial give insight to the peace that some of them can finally find now that this ordeal is finished.
“It’s closure, we’ve been waiting 30 years. We needed this,” said Irene Ephriam, the niece of Henrietta Wright.
Prosecutors refused to comment after the verdicts were reached, saying the day was for victims only.
“He doesn’t value life,” said Samara Herard, the sister of 15-year-old victim Princess Berthomieux. “I hope that justice will be served. All I’m worried about now is her and getting justice served. He deserved to be found guilty.”
As is the norm, Franklin Jr. is set to be sentenced in the next few weeks, when he’s likely to be sentenced to death or receive life in prison. Even with the sentencing to still be decided, a major chapter in the story of one of California’s most infamous serial killers is now closed.
(via The LA Times)