The latest edition of CJR (Columbia Journalism Review) recognizes former LA Weekly staff writer Christine Pelisek for her work on the “Grim Sleeper” case. Woman hasn't been around the office for a few months (she moved on to the Daily Beast) and she's still bringing us kudos.
That's pretty kick ass. The publication praises Pelisek (and editor Jill Stewart) for keeping the unsolved murder cases of several South Los Angeles women alive, even when police wanted to conduct the investigation without the media spotlight.
Pelisek and her editor, Jill Stewart, dubbed the suspected killer “The Grim Sleeper” because of the thirteen-year-long gap in his crime spree, and Pelisek wrote a long cover story about him in August 2008. She railed against the city politicians and police department for their lack of urgency, of resources, and of communication with the community. It was explosive, and the resulting publicity turned into public pressure. Within days, the Los Angeles City Council pledged a $500,000 reward for information that led to the killer's capture. The LAPD finally reached out to the victims' families, attended vigils, and met with church and community leaders. California Attorney General Jerry Brown gave the go-ahead for an unprecedented screening of the DNA database for California's felons.
In July authorities said they finally got their man with South L.A. resident Lonnie Franklin Jr. was arrested in connection with 10 of the “Grim Sleeper” murders. His son had been arrested and familial DNA testing led to Franklin, cops said.
Read Pelisek's seminal, 2008 cover story about the murders here.