Dear Los Angeles Times, Re: 'Grim Sleeper Didn't "Sleep"': We Know You're Bitter, But the Name's Still Awesome (and Appropriate)
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.
From today's piece:
"Los Angeles police say they have linked two more slayings to alleged serial killer Lonnie Franklin Jr., persuading detectives that he never stopped killing during the supposed dormant period that led to his nickname of the Grim Sleeper. ...
The L.A. Weekly dubbed the killer the Grim Sleeper because of the lengthy, unexplained gap in the slayings."
Burrrrn. (Like how you only mentioned that we named him, not that we discovered him.) But did it occur to y'all that our moniker of choice might have actually actually proven itself even more dynamic than we ever could have hoped?
The killer was a sleeper in every sense of the word: undetected by everyone but a small circle of cops, unsuspected by the girls he toyed with before the kill, underestimated by just about everyone until now. He's like the worst of sleeper waves: unpredictable, and silent even at the moment of attack.
The Sleeper went on killing without a peep of foreshadow to help police onto his trail, and may have taken dozens more lives during a 14-year lull in clues he fooled everyone into thinking was a gap. You say it yourselves:
Detectives have long been perplexed by the gap in the killings. For a while, they assumed the killer was in prison during this time. But that theory changed after Franklin was arrested. He was not behind bars during that period, and detectives said they now believe there were additional killings they don't know about. One reason for the gap might be that the LAPD had a task force looking into the earlier set of killings that disbanded in 1988. A new team picked up the case after the killings began again. That left 13 years in which the LAPD did not have a special team on the Grim Sleeper.
So, Timeslings, we know you're feeling awfully proud of yourselves today, just as you were when the hundreds of potential-victim photos dropped (and partly just 'cause you found a good short headline and could therefore squeeze the "LA Weekly gives shitty names" bit in), but we beg to differ. The man slept. No doubt about it. And don't pretend you're not into sly word subtleties. You're the freaking queens.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss LA Weekly's biggest stories.