LOS ANGELES, Calif.–Prosecutors will seek the death penalty against the man suspected in the “Grim Sleeper” serial killings, a deputy district attorney announced today.
A jury will be asked to recommend a death sentence for 58-year-old Lonnie Franklin Jr. if he is convicted, Deputy District Attorney Beth Silverman said. Franklin has been indicted on 10 counts of murder and one count of attempted murder.
Franklin, a one-time city employee, has been locked up since his July 7, 2010, arrest.
He is charged with killing the women, many of them prostitutes, and dumping their remains in alleys and trash bins around South Los Angeles between 1985 and 2007.
Franklin was initially dubbed the “Grim Sleeper” due to a large gap between groups of killings, but detectives said they now don’t think there was a long delay between murders.
A former city sanitation worker and onetime Los Angeles Police Department garage attendant, Franklin was known in his South Los Angeles neighborhood as a backyard mechanic who often helped with residents’ auto problems.
His alleged victims were black women who were usually sexually assaulted before their deaths, police said.
Authorities have said that one particular handgun was used in many of the killings.
Franklin was linked to the killings after his son was arrested in 2008 on gun and drug charges.
The younger Franklin submitted a DNA sample, which was connected to the alleged “Grim Sleeper’s” DNA.