Lonnie David Franklin Jr. Indictment Unsealed


LOS ANGELES (Reuters)

Prosecutors unsealed an indictment on Thursday charging an accused serial killer dubbed the “Grim Sleeper” with murdering 10 girls and women during a Los Angeles-area crime spree that spanned three decades.

The suspect, Lonnie David Franklin Jr., 58, who worked as a neighborhood mechanic, has been jailed without bond since he was arrested outside his home on July 7, partly on the basis of DNA evidence linking him to the killings through genetic material of his son.

He is accused of shooting to death or strangling seven of his victims between August 1985 and September 1988 and three others between March 2002 and January 2007. The suspect was dubbed “the Grim Sleeper” because of a gap of more than 13 years between the killing sprees.

The girls and women he attacked ranged in age from 14 to 36, and many were prostitutes. Some were raped before they were slain. Their bodies were dumped in alleys and trash bins and covered with debris.

The indictment spares prosecutors the need for a preliminary hearing to determine whether sufficient evidence exists to take their case against Franklin to trial.

“The families of the victims should be accorded timely resolution of the allegations of the murders of their loved ones,” District Attorney Steve Cooley said in a statement.

Franklin is due in court April 4 for a pre-trial hearing.

Source

CNN Article

Link to an article about familial DNA.

Since 2008, California has allowed so-called familial DNA searches, in which investigators look for close-but-not-exact matches between DNA evidence collected at crime scenes and the state’s data bank of DNA collected from 1.3 million convicted felons. The method has a longer history in the United Kingdom, where it led to a conviction in a murder case in 2004. In Colorado, the only other U.S. state to allow it, the method led to a guilty plea in a car-theft case in Denver last year.

California allows familial DNA searches only for violent crimes in which the perpetrator is still believed to be a danger to society. Sims and Myers say they have run 10 searches so far. The first nine came up empty, including a 2008 search with DNA evidence from the Grim Sleeper crime scene. “We did not find anybody in the database who we thought was a potential relative,” says Sims.

However, a second search in April 2010 did turn up a potential match: a young man named Christopher Franklin who was convicted last year on a felony weapons charge. The DNA search, along with the dates of the murders cast suspicion on Christopher Franklin’s father. After an internal review of the evidence, investigators at the Bashinski lab notified the L.A. police, who followed the elder Franklin and eventually got a DNA sample from a discarded piece of pizza. Lonnie Franklin’s DNA matched DNA from the crime scenes, and police arrested him at his home last week.

 

I am not even going to try to state that I understand all the details of familial DNA searches. Even this article only seems to scratch the surface. Science is not my strongest subject.

I do know that it has been helpful in catching a few criminals.

Some people are against using familial DNA but I think in violent cases we, society, and the law must do everything to try to catch the offender. Law enforcement should be able to try new things, even if it is a little invasive. In violent, especially serial, murders the public has to give a little if they want law enforcement to be able to catch the criminal.

Serial killer photos

Grim Sleeper Unidentified Photos

  1. August 7th, 2011

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