Police check ‘Grim Sleeper’ suspect in other cold cases
LOS ANGELES — Police think the suspect in the “Grim Sleeper” killing spree might be responsible for even more murders than initially thought. A team of detectives Thursday began combing through 30 cold-case homicides dating to 1984 with similarities to those now linked to Lonnie Franklin Jr., the man accused of serial killings spanning 25 years.
“These 30 are young women in South L.A. with similarities in locations and approximately similar ages,” police spokesman Lt. Andrew Neiman said. “Not specifically in the same area where the already confirmed victims were found but expanding that area.”
The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office charged Franklin in court Thursday with 10 counts of murder, one count of attempted murder and a special circumstance of “multiple murders,” said Stephen Cooley, the district attorney, which could carry a death sentence. Franklin’s arraignment was postponed until Aug. 9.
Los Angeles police detectives swarmed Franklin’s South Los Angeles home Friday for a second day of sifting through his belongings, said Neiman, trying to piece together a profile of Franklin, a former Los Angeles Police De- Charged in killings.
0 partment garage attendant and city sanitation worker. The Los Angeles Times reported that police had found several firearms at his house and sent them for ballistics testing.
His knowledge of sanitation operations and access to city dump sites have prompted investigators to look again at unsolved murders of victims found in landfills, Neiman said.
Police have said that the serial killer known as the Grim Sleeper, so named because he took a 13-year hiatus in his killing spree, shot or strangled at least 10 women and one man in about two decades and dumped their bodies in alleys.
“Now that we know who he is, where he lives, the cars he drove, have people to interview, we will go over all those old cases and look for connections,” Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck said. “This is a city that was no stranger to homicides in the ’80s and ’90s, and we will be looking at all of those, especially the ones where the victims were female.”
Investigators will upload Franklin’s DNA profile into a national database to see if it matches other samples, Beck said.
Enietra Washington, 51, the only known Grim Sleeper survivor, said she “went into hiding” in recent years as the serial killings gained a higher profile. Washington, who was shot in the chest after getting into a man’s car 22 years ago, said she now feels safer about “talking about what happened to me.”
“I knew he was still out there,” Washington said. “But now I feel some relief.”
Lonnie Franklin Jr.