In August 2008, the LA Weekly broke the story of the Grim Sleeper serial killer
In August 2008, the LA Weekly broke the story of the Grim Sleeper serial killer

Could L.A. Murder-Spree Suspect John Wesley Ewell Be Sloppy 'Grim Sleeper' Copycat?

His name is John Wesley Ewell. He's a 53-year-old handyman from Harbor Gateway, and L.A. County sheriffs suspect he committed four cold-blooded murders during home-invasion robberies from Sept. 24 to Oct. 20.

Now, black-and-white evidence found in his red 1992 Nissan Altima suggests that, given the chance, Ewell may not have stopped at four.

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It makes Ewell out to be a fan of L.A.'s own Grim Sleeper -- a failed copycat, even, who committed his crimes by stalking homes instead of street corners. The Grim Creeper, if you will.

Detectives told the Los Angeles Times this afternoon that a newspaper from the time of the Grim Sleeper's arrest has been discovered in Ewell's red 1992 Nissan Altima. (They're out of the station and can't confirm which publication it was, but we've got our fingers crossed. After all, the Weekly did give the guy his name.)

Lonnie Franklin, the alleged Grim Sleeper, committed at least 10 homicides of black women (many prostitutes) from 1985 to 2008, with two long hiatuses in between. He is being held without bail until his trial. Find the full breaking story, by award-winning Weekly reporter Christine Pelisek, here -- and the story of Franklin's capture here.

Ewell's first victim was an 80-year-old man, followed by a woman who lived on his block and a middle-aged couple who he strangled in their Hawthorne home.

But despite apparent admiration for the Sleeper, his crime spree was far more conspicuous than his slippery predecessor's.

"He was brazen," Sheriff's Lieutenant Dave Coleman told the Times. "He used the ATM card from the [Hawthorne] couple several times. He didn't make an effort to hide his face from the camera."

This rash behavior led authorities straight to him last Saturday night, when surveillance cameras at a Shell station showed Ewell driving away after trying to use the card.


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