ABWW Slime of the Day: The Grim Sleeper Serial Killer Caught.

One of the legacies of racially gendered privilege is that violent crime against black women is unreported, under-investigated and brought to trial at staggeringly low rates. While attacks against white women occupy hours of media coverage daily crime against black women is rarely broadcast. So little attention is paid to crime against black women that serial killers who prey on them are rarely caught. Records show Lonnie David Franklin Jr. was arrested time and time again for theft and violent crimes, and although he served time, it was never as much as probation officers recommended. Everyone knows about Son of Sam, Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy, but have you heard of the Grim Sleeper?

A backyard mechanic identified by police this week as the Grim Sleeper serial killer had a lengthy criminal history stretching over four decades but was never sent to prison despite calls by law enforcement officials for tough sentences, according to Los Angeles County court records released Friday.

Probation reports show that Lonnie David Franklin Jr. repeatedly cycled through the county’s justice system years before he was charged this week with killing 10 women in South Los Angeles.

Franklin was arrested at least 15 times for car theft, burglary, receiving stolen property, assaults, firearms possession and other crimes, the records show. In most cases, he avoided prosecution or was sent to jail and placed on probation even as law enforcement officers called him a serious criminal and urged prison terms.

Franklin allegedly killed seven women between 1985 and 1988, when his crimes seemed to abruptly stop, authorities say. The slayings resumed with three more between 2002 and 2007, police said.

In 2003, Los Angeles probation officers wrote that Franklin — then 50 — had admitted spending three decades as an active criminal and was back to his old ways when he was caught driving a luxury SUV stolen from the Glendale Galleria.

“If at this age the defendant is still engaging in criminal activities … the community can best be served by imposing the maximum time possible in state prison,” one probation officer wrote.

Franklin faced up to three years in prison after pleading no contest to receiving stolen property. As part of a plea agreement with prosecutors, however, he was sentenced to jail for 270 days.

Once he entered jail, Franklin again benefited from Los Angeles’ overburdened justice system. Sheriff’s officials were releasing inmates early to ease overcrowding in the county’s jails. Franklin was released in May 2003, more than four months early, according to jail data obtained by The Times.

Two months later, when he should still have been behind bars, Franklin allegedly killed again. In July 2003, a crossing guard in the Westmont area of the city stumbled across the lifeless body of Valerie McCorvey. The 35-year-old had suffered trauma to her neck, police said.

Franklin was only recently identified as a suspect in the case when a “familial search” of state DNA records indicated that a convicted felon was probably related to the killer. Franklin is the felon’s father.
Los Angeles Times
Jack Leonard and Victoria Kim

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