'Grim Sleeper' Trial Begins With Gruesome Photo Display

Gruesome photos launch LA serial killer trial
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 17, 2016 5:03 AM CST
'Grim Sleeper' Trial Begins
Photographs found in the possession of Lonnie David Franklin Jr. are shown before a news conference in Los Angeles.   (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

Lonnie David Franklin Jr. has finally gone on trial almost six years after his arrest, and more than 30 years after investigators say he started murdering women in South Los Angeles as the "Grim Sleeper" serial killer. The 63-year-old is accused of murdering at least nine women and one 15-year-old girl between 1985 and 2007, with a 14-year "sleep" between 1988 and 2002. Some coverage highlights:

  • The trial is expected to last two to three months, and it is going to be disturbing, warns Hillel Aron at LA Weekly. "It will be grim, it will be hard to watch, it will be depressing," he writes. "And it will be a journey back to 1980s South LA, when crime was raging and crack cocaine flooded the streets."

  • The Los Angeles Times looks at the history of the case and the emotional start to the trial on Tuesday, in which spectators gasped and wept as the prosecution displayed gruesome photos of the murdered women.
  • The victims were all young black women "dumped like trash" by a predator who exploited the city's crack cocaine epidemic, Los Angeles County Deputy DA Beth Silverman said in her opening statement. "Some of them were left to rot," she said. "Some were dumped in trash dumpsters. Some were covered with dirty mattresses. Almost all of them were hidden under debris behind bushes."
  • Another LAT story looks at the hunt for the killer, and how a bite of a pizza led to the arrest of Franklin, a former garbage collector and police garage attendant.
  • KABC speaks to relatives of the victims, including Porter Alexander, whose daughter Monique was 18 in 1988 when she went to the store and never came back. "That girl meant everything to me," he says.
  • NBC4 visits Franklin's South LA neighborhood and finds that some residents still find it hard to believe that the "happy-go-lucky" man they knew could be a monster.
(Read more Grim Sleeper stories.)

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