The serial killer known as the “Grim Sleeper,” believed to be responsible for at least 10 murders in Los Angeles since 1985, was convicted.
Lonnie David Franklin Jr., a former police garage attendant and garbage collector, was found guilty for the murders, becoming one of California’s worst serial killers. The deaths spanned between 1985 and 2007. A gap of more than 13 years earned him the “Sleeper” nickname.
The Los Angeles Times reported that the jury spent a day and a half on deliberations before finding Franklin guilty on 10 counts of murder in the killings of nine young black women and one 15-year-old girl. He was found guilty on one count of attempted murder in 1988. They were fatally shot or strangled and dumped in South Los Angeles during the crack cocaine epidemic. Some were prostitutes and most had cocaine in their systems.
The trial will now go to the penalty phase, starting May 11, CNN reported. Franklin faces the death penalty for his crimes.
Prosecutors said that two more women, including one he was convicted of raping and another he tried to kidnap in Germany while he was in the Army, might testify in the penalty phase.
In the trial, prosecutors described him as a sexual predator who killed his victims and then dumped their bodies.
“He did it over, and over, and over, and over and over, and over,” Deputy District Attorney Beth Silverman said, reported CNN. “All of the murders in this case are first degree. They are all willful. They are all deliberate. They are all pre-meditated.”
A defense lawyer claimed a “mystery man” was the killer, though the prosecutor said that theory was fabricated.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.