The Grim Sleeper nicknamed for a serial killer – named from his unusual disappearance between crimes. The Grim Sleeper has taken a 14-year break ranging from 1998 to 2002. In July 2010 the Grime Sleeper was arrested and was revealed as Lonnie David Franklin Jr. Franklin was arrested as a suspect and, after many delays, his trial began in February 2016. The Grim Sleeper was convicted of killing nine women and one teenage girl. On June 6, 2016, the jury than returned and decided to sentence Lonnie David Franklin Jr. also known as the grim reaper to death.
The Grim Sleeper Crime Investigation:
In the 1980s, following the deaths of several women in South Los Angeles, California, community members formed the Black Coalition Fighting Back Serial Murders. The group pressured police into setting up a task force and to acknowledge the deaths as serial killings. The Coalition launched a media campaign and set a monetary reward aiming to capture the killer. The joint Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department-LAPD investigation determined that the crimes were committed by a single person labeled the “Southside Slayer.” Their results were announced to the public on September 23, 1985.
According to investigators, evidence was found suggesting that several serial killers were murdering women in South Los Angeles. Louis Craine committed at least two of the “Southside Slayer” murders, and Michael Hughes, Daniel Lee Siebert, and Ivan Hill at least one each. A separate series of killings commenced with the murder of Debra Jackson and a different MO involving a firearm. These became known, misleadingly, as the “Strawberry murders.” Sheriff’s Detective Ricky Ross was wrongfully arrested due to a ballistics error. Two decades later, the perpetrator of these crimes was named “Grim Sleeper” due to a long period of apparent inactivity between murders.
In May 2007, the slaying of Janecia Peters, 25, was linked through DNA analysis to at least eleven unsolved murders in Los Angeles, the first of which occurred in 1985. This same year, in secrecy the LAPD formed the “800 Task Force”, consisting of six detectives and overseen by the Robbery-Homicide Unit. After a four-month investigation, the LA Weekly investigative reporter Christine Pelisek broke the news of the task force’s existence, the linking of Peters’ killing to the earlier murders, and the silence of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Police Chief William J. Bratton regarding the killer’s existence. The mayor and police chief never issued a press release nor warned the community. In some cases, LA Weekly was the first to inform the families that their daughters had long been confirmed as victims of a serial killer.
In early September 2008, Los Angeles officials announced that they were offering a $500,000 reward to help catch the killer. On November 1, the case was detailed on the Fox program America’s Most Wanted.
On February 25, 2009, Police Chief Bratton addressed the press for the first time regarding the case, at which time the police formally gave the killer the “Grim Sleeper” nickname chosen by L.A. Weekly. Bratton also released a 911 call from the 1980s in which a man reported seeing a body being dumped by the Grim Sleeper, giving a detailed description and license plate number of a van connected with the now-closed Cosmopolitan Church.
In March 2009, reporter Pelisek did an extensive interview with Enietra Washington, the sole survivor of the Grim Sleeper’s attacks. She described him as “a black man in his early 30s […] He looked neat. Tidy. Kind of geeky. He wore a black polo shirt tucked into khaki trousers.” She also described the interior and exterior of his vehicle.