LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Jurors Monday recommended that the so-called “Grim Sleeper” be sentenced to death.
The jury deliberated for more than five hours over two days before recommending that Lonnie Franklin Jr. be executed.
The victims’ families broke into tears as the sentence was read. But Franklin sat stone-faced and never acknowledged the families sitting near him.
Outside the courtroom, the families consoled each other as they finally had some sense of closure.
“I’m glad it’s over, and that he’ll never get out to hurt anybody else. Justice has been served,” said Diana Ware, mother of victim Barbara Ware.
The former Los Angeles city garage attendant and sanitation worker was convicted of 10 counts of first-degree murder for killing nine women and a 15-year-old girl between 1985 and 2007.
The 63-year-old was also found guilty in the attempted murder of Enietra Washington, who survived being shot in the chest and pushed out of a moving car in November 1988.
Franklin is due back in court on Aug. 10 for sentencing.
The case is called “Grim Sleeper” because of a gap in the serial killings.
The South Los Angeles man was convicted of killing:
- Debra Jackson, 29, found dead from three gunshot wounds to the chest in an alley on Aug. 10, 1985
- Henrietta Wright, 34, shot twice in the chest and found in an alley with a cloth gag stuffed in her mouth on Aug. 12, 1986
- Barbara Ware, 23, shot once in the chest and found under a pile of debris and garbage in an alley on Jan. 10, 1987
- Bernita Sparks, 26, shot once in the chest and found in a trash bin with her shirt and pants unbuttoned on April 16, 1987
- Mary Lowe, 26, shot in the chest and found in an alley with her pants unzipped behind a large shrub on Nov. 1, 1987
- Lachrica Jefferson, 22, shot twice in the chest and found with a napkin over her face with the handwritten word “AIDS” on it – in an alley on Jan. 30, 1988
- Alicia Alexander, 18, shot once in the chest and found naked under a blue foam mattress in an alley on Sept. 11, 1988
- Princess Berthomieux, 15, strangled and discovered naked and hidden in shrubbery in an Inglewood alley on March 9, 2002
- Valerie McCorvey, 35, strangled and found dead with her clothes pulled down at the entrance to a locked alley on July 11, 2003
- Janecia Peters, 25, shot in the back and found naked inside a sealed plastic garbage bag in a trash bin in an alley on Jan. 1, 2007
Some of the victims’ family members said they were relieved by the outcome.
Alicia Alexander’s father, Porter Alexander Jr. said “when you look at life, that’s the most precious thing you can ever lose it’s your child. How can you replace that? You can’t. We got what we came to get. We got a just verdict. It was a long time coming.”
The Alicia’s mother, Mary, said she wants to ask Franklin why he committed the crimes. “Is it something with his childhood or what? What did they do to him to cause him to do this?”
Her older brother, Donnell Parker, said the death penalty was warranted because of the “brutality” Franklin inflicted on his victims. “I think today has set a precedent that we cannot allow people to have a license to go around killing.” Parker said he wanted to be present if Franklin is executed.
Kenneitha Lowe said she felt the verdict would make her sister, Mary, “able to fly her wings.” “The way she was killed, her life didn’t have to be ending like that,” Lowe said. “She didn’t ever get a chance to fly her wings because he took it away from her.”
During the penalty phase of the trial, prosecutors presented evidence they claimed linked Franklin to four other killings: the January 1984 slaying of Sharon Dismuke, the August 1988 killing of Inez Warren, the December 2000 slaying of Georgia Thomas and the presumed killing of Rolenia Morris, a 31-year-old mother of two who “vanished under very mysterious circumstances” in September 2005, Deputy District Attorney Beth Silverman said.
Detective Daryn Dupree said investigators seized 180 photos during a search at Franklin’s home in 2010, and 34 women in those pictures still have not been identified. “We don’t know if they’re dead or alive,” he said. “We just want to have them identified.”