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'Grim Sleeper' serial killer suspect convicted by LA jury, faces death sentence

By Doug G. Ware
'Grim Sleeper' serial killer suspect convicted by LA jury, faces death sentence
Lonnie David Franklin, Jr., was convicted in Los Angeles court Thursday for committing murders attributed to the "Grim Sleeper" killings in the 1980s and 2000s. Responsible for the deaths of 10 women, the serial killer was given the name due to the 14-year hiatus between attacks from 1988 to 2002. Photo courtesy Los Angeles Police Department/Dept. of Corrections

LOS ANGELES, May 5 (UPI) -- Nearly 30 years after the first victim turned up in Southern California, the man prosecutors called the "Grim Sleeper" serial killer was convicted by a Los Angeles jury Thursday.

Lonnie D. Franklin, Jr., was convicted of committing 10 murders after three months of gruesome testimony from authorities and relatives of the victims. He was also convicted on one count of attempted murder for a victim who escaped.

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Franklin, 63, a former mechanic and police officer for the city, was arrested in 2010 due to what investigators said was a DNA link. He was given the name "Grim Sleeper" due to lengthy periods between murders in the 1990s and 2000s.

"Most of these victims have been dead for over 20 years," Beth Silverman, the deputy district attorney, said during closing arguments this week. "It's time. It's time that justice was served in this case."

Thursday, a court clerk read the jury's guilty verdicts for each of the 10 victims, all women. The trial started in February.

"It was the perfect place and time for a serial killer to roam the streets of Los Angeles really without detection," Silverman said at the trial's opening, noting that the start of Franklin's rampage coincided with the explosion of crack cocaine use on LA streets.

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The penalty phase of the trial will begin Wednesday. Prosecutors said they will seek the death penalty.

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