Officials outside the downtown Los Angeles Police Administration Building on Thursday trumpeted the nation's first use of "familial" DNA testing that was used to track down the suspect they believe is South L.A.'s Grim Sleeper serial killer.
Los Angeles police Chief Charlie Beck called yesterday's arrest of Lonnie Franklin Jr. "a landmark case ... (that) will change the way policing is done in the United States.''
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Franklin was charged with 10 counts of murder and one count of attempted murder and was expected to be arraigned at 1:30 p.m. Thursday downtown. His alleged spree lasted from 1985 to 2007, with 11 victims tied to the case. One, a man, was not included in the D.A.'s case, possibly as a result of inconclusive DNA testing.
The suspect was arrested after his son's DNA was matched to the case, authorities said. Detectives then tailed Franklin and obtained DNA from an item left behind after he had visited a pizza parlor, Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley told the Weekly. That led them to Franklin's home on 81st Street in South Los Angeles Wednesday morning.
"This will bring us on a par with the way that DNA searches are done in some parts of Western Europe,'' Beck told the downtown news conference. "This will bring justice to victims to which it has been denied.''
-With reporting from City News Service. Got news? Email us.