Po­lice check ‘Grim Sleeper’ sus­pect in other cold cases

Austin American-Statesman - - WORLD & NATION - By Re­becca Cath­cart

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.

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