Detective Cliff Shepard has served with the Los Angeles Police Department for 37 years and 13 days. He retires today, bringing to a close a career spent tracking and catching some of the most notorious serial killers in L.A.'s history.
There was Rodney Acala, the handsome and charismatic UCLA graduate who appeared on ABC's The Dating Game--and won--in the middle of a bicoastal murder spree that claimed at least seven lives. There was Chester Turner, the Dominos deliveryman who blended so seamlessly into his South L.A. neighborhood that he was able to murder eleven women in as many years without attracting suspicion. Finally, there was Lonnie Franklin Jr., the Grim Sleeper, who eluded capture for 35 years, staking claim to the title of most enduring serial killer this side of the Mississippi.
Is Wendy Greuel running for Los Angeles mayor by acting like a blond version of the failed Arnold Schwarzenegger, decrying waste, fraud and abuse? She's fired off an election-aimed press release asking the City Council's inept Audits and Governmental Efficiency Committee to address fraud in the 50,000-plus city work force. Pul-eeze.
Fix this instead, Ms. Controller: Fraud among city workers who wangle lifelong "disability retirements" by lying about workplace "injuries" -- as did Lonnie Franklin Jr. (the alleged Grim Sleeper). The cases are never re-investigated after the monthly disability pension checks roll in. There is not a single City Hall investigative/video team to probe the hundreds (or, God, thousands?) of former employees out golfing, jogging -- or being hardcore felons -- on the public dime.
We totally get the Fourth Amendment crusade against testing the DNA of any and every person arrested on felony charges:
It's invasive, preemptive and Big Brother-esque.
But even if only 50 percent of said arrestees are convicted of their charges -- a 2009 figure cited by Brown-appointed Presiding Justice J. Anthony Kline before declaring the tests unconstitutional last week in state appellate court -- a close-to-home accused serial killer makes us wonder. Might a couple big fish be worth the discomfort/righteousness of the exonerated?
One of the creepiest aspects of the Grim Sleeper serial murder case has been the 911 call in 1987 alerting cops that someone threw a body out of van (audio after the jump). The man's voice even gave a plate number. And when officers arrived to the alley in the 1300 block of East 56th Street in South L.A., they found the corpse of 23-year-old Barbara Ware.
As Lonnie Franklin Jr., a shade-tree mechanic who lived on 81st Street, faces charges in the homicides of 10 women, the LAPD obtained a court order yesterday to obtain a recording of the 58-year-old's voice to determine if he indeed made that call.
Lead Grim Sleeper Det. Dennis Kilcoyne told the Weekly ...
Lonnie Franklin Jr., the man on trial for allegedly killing 10 women and attempting to kill one more (her survivor's tale, here), may be pleading "not guilty" to the charges -- but his lawyer seems to be the only one buying that story.
According to the Associated Press, Deputy District Attorney Beth Silverman "told a court her office will ask a jury for the state's harshest sentence if 58-year-old Lonnie Franklin Jr. is convicted." Aka, capital punishment. The death penalty. Lethal injection.
Meanwhile, Franklin continues to collect fat disability pension checks from the City of Los Angeles, at about $1,700 per month...
LAPD detectives and District Attorney Steve Cooley may be sure they have their guy, but the trial of suspected L.A. Grim Sleeper serial killer Lonnie Franklin, Jr. -- who is accused of killing over 10 black women over three decades, many of them prostitues, and was recently linked to eight more missing persons -- is moving slow as molasses through what victims' families see as the perhaps too thorough Superior Court system.
KNX news radio reports that there were "audible objections heard in the courtroom" this morning when L.A. Judge Hilleri Merritt delayed Franklin's hearing to August. And that's just the pre-trial...
The LA Times is giddy with revenge today in the front-page, full-color "Grim Sleeper Didn't 'Sleep'," all but calling Lonnie Franklin Jr. -- the notorious L.A. prostitute-killer now suspected of murdering two more women during his mysterious 14-year hiatus -- the Grim Insomniac, in light of the recent LAPD developments.
That's what happens when you break a story before the Times.
In case you somehow missed the original media storm: LA Weekly crime reporter Christine Pelisek fondly bestowed that name upon the serial killer after discovering top-secret LAPD evidence of his existence and breaking the story in 2008 ["Grim Sleeper Returns: He's Murdering Angelenos, as Cops Hunt his DNA"].
Here's why, to this day, we wouldn't name the Sleeper any other way.
The suspected Grim Sleeper serial killer pleaded not guilty this morning to the murders of 10 women and the attempted murder of another. Lonnie David Franklin Jr., a car mechanic with a long history of car theft, is charged with 10 counts of murder and one count of attempted murder, and could face the death penalty if convicted.
Over 100 people, including family members and Los Angeles Police Department detectives, attended a memorial service last night for the 10 victims of the Grim Sleeper serial killer. The two-hour service also marked the 25th anniversary of the death of cocktail waitress Debra Jackson who was last seen leaving a friend's house in Lynwood to take a bus back to her apartment in South Los Angeles. Days later, Jackson was found covered with a carpet in an alley west of Vermont Avenue on August 10, 1985. She had been shot in the chest. Jackson was the first known victim of alleged killer Lonnie David Franklin Jr. whose murderous romp through South Los Angeles ended with his arrest on July 7.
Franklin Jr., a mechanic with a long history of car theft, was charged with the murders of 10 women and attempted murder of another after DNA from Franklin's incarcerated son showed a linkage to DNA found at the crime scenes. An undercover team followed the elder Franklin to a pizza place where they retrieved a discarded slice of pizza to analyze his DNA. Three days later, they confirmed that it matched the DNA of the Grim Sleeper suspect.
The memorial service was held at the Bethel AME Church, which is located on Western Avenue just two blocks from where Franklin lived with his wife. Franklin's home is almost at the epicenter of the troubled sector of Los Angeles where the brutal murders took place.
A new defense attorney is representing the so-called Grim Sleeper serial killer who is accused of a series of killings that spanned two decades. Today, Lonnie Franklin Jr., a car mechanic with a long history of car theft, dismissed two alternate public defenders who were representing him. Franklin's new defense attorney Louisa Pensanti said she was taking the case "pro bono," meaning that she won't be paid for her services.
The move is a definite head scratcher. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Hilleri G. Merritt seemed baffled by the attorney swap in the potential death penalty case. ``This case could go on at least conceivably for the next two to three years,'' she said. ``If you want to take the case on those terms, those terms will remain.''