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Grim Sleeper victims
LAPD booking photo
Where the 'Sleeper' Slept (Photo by Malcolm Ali)
The Mayor, LAPD, Councilmen and families come together to rejoice over the capture of the Grim Sleeper.
By Brian W. Carter, Sentinel Staff Writerand Jasmyne Cannick, Sentinel Contributing Writer
On July 6, a press conference was held in front of LAPD downtown where families of the victims of the "Grim Sleeper" took a sigh of relief over the capture of the notorious murderer. Lonnie David Franklin, 57, was captured through a high-tech, DNA familial search that pointed police straight to his doorstep.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa flanked by Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck, 8th District Councilmember Bernard Parks, LAPD Commissioner President John Mack, and others praised the use of DNA and the victim's families for their support.
"Thanks to the recent use of DNA evidence and, even more important, two decades of exhaustive detective, 25 years of reviewing and re-examining evidence, tapes and witness accounts, we have our suspect," said Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa at the press conference.
Capt. Kevin McClure of the Robbery-Homicide Division, said that the police sent an undercover officer into the pizza shop to retrieve a half-eaten pizza crust, which turned up DNA that police say connects Franklin to the killings. Franklin had once worked in the 77th precinct as a gas pump attendant for department vehicles.
Also present was Attorney General Jerry Brown, District Attorney Steve Cooley, Sheriff Lee Baca and Det. Dennis Kilcoyne along with the families of the victims, gathered to hear the news and give accolades to the men and women of the LAPD that worked tirelessly to capture the Grim Sleeper.
"This is a landmark case," LAPD Police Chief Beck said. "This will change the way policing is done in the United States. This will bring us up on a par in the way DNA searches are done in some parts of Western Europe. This will bring justice to victims, for which it was denied."
Councilmember Bernard Parks said, "Many people who have not gone through these circumstances have no idea what those families have gone through. Their persistence is what created this whole situation where this cold case is now solved."
Over the span of three decades, the LAPD tracked down leads on the killings that took place in the South Los Angeles area. The brutal murders date back to 1985 when the bodies of women were being found in allies and dumpsters. Franklin got his nickname "Grim Sleeper" due to the 14-year hiatus in murders from 1988 to 2002.
The LAPD should receive high praise for their valiant efforts that brought this killer to justice. More than anything, the day truly belonged to the families and victim of Franklin's atrocities. They stood together giving God the praise over the justice they were finally seeing before their eyes.
Porter Alexander, father of the late Alicia "Monique" Alexander, can now rest knowing that his daughter's killer has been caught. "God is good," said Alexander at the press conference. "It's a big relief of knowing that he's off the streets. It's a feeling that I can't explain, it's a burden that you carry for so long."
Nicole Bush, cousin of Valerie McCorvey, shared her last recollection of her cousin before she was murdered. "I was actually the last one to see her alive a week before she was killed," said Bush.
She continued, "She was killed right after her Mom passed away so it was a real devastating blow." Bush shared her feelings on Franklin's capture saying, "It's actually good, it's actually good, it's a big relief, I mean because so many years have passed, and if that's the actual guy, then I hope he gets the max because he hurt a lot of families."
Enietra Washington is the lone survivor of the brutal attacks by Franklin. She barely survived her encounter sustaining a gunshot to the chest, sexual assault and being left for dead in the street. Washington commented about this day, and how she and so many others have waited for it. "Really, I'm kind of jittery, I really don't believe this has come to an end," said Washington, "but, God said seven days and they caught him on the seventh, so I'm believing in completion."
She continued, "Hopefully this is it, and we won't really know until the trial come out...I'm hoping the DNA proves it and that these families can be at rest."
"I hope that the residents of South Los Angeles understand and feel a little safer and know and understand the LAPD is truly there to work with them in a partnership," exclaimed LAPD Commission President John Mack.