Lonnie Franklin Jr.–better known as the Grim Sleeper–was found dead in prison last week. The 67-year-old convicted serial killer murdered at least 10 women in California.
His serial killer moniker was coined by “LA Weekly” in 2008 after his earlier murders in the 80s were linked to more recent crimes. The 14-year break between the two killing sprees earned him the name the “Grim Sleeper.”
Although he was only convicted of 10 murders and 1 attempted murder, some authorities believe that the number of his victims might be as high as 25. In fact, detectives believe that he was not, in fact, biding his time during that decade and a half. Since he preyed upon vulnerable, often-overlooked women, it’s possible that there are many more victims who were simply never found.
The testimony of Laura Moore, who at the age of 21 was abducted and shot by Franklin, helped put him behind bars. Friends and family members of his victims also spoke out at his sentencing. “The defendant took my daughter, murdered her, put her in a plastic bag — a trash bag — like she was trash,” Laverne Peters said. “My hope is that he spends the rest of his glory days in his jail cell, which will become his trash bag.”
Peters’ daughter was just 25 when Franklin killed her in 2007.
Franklin targeted young African-American women in the Los Angeles area. He preyed upon drug addicts and prostitutes, likely hoping that law enforcement and media would ignore his crimes. Sickeningly, he was right.
It wasn’t until Franklin’s son was arrested that police were able to match his DNA with evidence found at the scene of one of the Grim Sleeper’s murders. In 2010, police connected the dots and tracked down Franklin’s home, where they found a .25 caliber handgun that had killed one of his victims.
The Grim Sleeper was found unresponsive in his cell at San Quentin State Prison. The prison will conduct an autopsy. However, a source said that there were no signs of trauma. It’s therefore likely that Franklin died of natural causes. An ironically peaceful end to the man who assaulted and murdered so many people.
Franklin had been on death row since August 2016. There are currently over 700 inmates awaiting execution in California. However, the state has not actually executed anyone since 2006.