Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Desperately Seeking Justice

"[The crack epidemic [between 1988 and 2002] [enabled a serial killer to target women] willing to sell their bodies and their souls in order to gratify their dependency on this powerful drug."
 "This was the perfect opportunity for someone who preyed on women. Someone who knew the streets and the dark alleys by heart, someone who lived there and was able to blend in, someone who knew where the drug-addicted women and perhaps prostitutes would congregate and who knew how to lure potential victims into the darkness and the isolation of a vehicle through the promise of crack."
"It was the perfect place and time for a serial killer to roam the streets of Los Angeles, really without detection."
Prosecutor Beth Silverman, Los Angeles trial of Lonnie Franklin Jr.

"The day of reckoning is here. You can't help but be excited that  you lived to see an end to this madness."
"It's been a long road and I'm glad I'll physically be able to be there."
 Porter Alexander, father of a victim
Franklin denies killing the women whose bodies were all found within a five mile radius of his house
Franklin denies killing the women whose bodies were all found within a five mile radius of his house

"State computers produced a list of 200 genetic profiles of people in the database who might be related to the serial killer. One of those profiles shared a common genetic marker with the DNA found at each of the 15 crime scenes."
"The resulting pattern indicated a parent-child relationship. Knowing that the Grim Sleeper had to be a man, they tested the DNA of the 200 offenders whose profiles resembled the crime-scene DNA to determine whether any appeared to share the Y chromosome, which boys inherit from their fathers."
Los Angeles Times

"It's not over until it's over. There's more to it than people want to believe. It's up to the prosecution to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt."
Seymour Amster, Defence Lawyer
Behind bars since his 2010 arrest, Lonnie Franklin Jr., named the "Grim Sleeper" serial killer because such a long lapse occurred between his first killing and subsequent ones, pleaded not guilty to the crimes with which he has been charged. Now 63 years of age, he denies having killed nine women and a teen-aged girl. According to authorities, from 1985 to 2007 this is the man who killed nine women aged 18 to 35 as well as a 15-year-old girl.

Prosecutors projected images for the jury of the ten women who they claim were murdered by FranklinĀ 

Police investigators in Los Angeles started to look into the city's unsolved cold cases with DNA presenting as their enabling tool, and they felt that the case of the unsolved 'Grim Sleeper' would be as good a place as anywhere to begin their search for justice. DNA samples from state prisoners were being collected over the years and kept in a law enforcement DNA database. When police urged the state to agree to investigate DNA matches that might be related to the killer, the then-state attorney-general agreed to accepting familial searches.

And this is what eventually led police to Lonnie Franklin Jr., whose own DNA data was not to be found on that database. But his son, Christopher Franklin had been arrested on firearm and drug-related charges. And his was the perfect father-son DNA match that police hoped they might find. They still required confirmation, however, so an undercover officer followed the man to a pizza outlet where a birthday party was taking place. Posing as a busboy the officer collected dishes Franklin had used. An uneaten crust of pizza, a napkin and a drinking glass hosted the sought-for evidence.

During the 1980s and 1990s, the Grim Sleeper was one of at least three serial killers plying their deadly trade in the Los Angeles area, targeting vulnerable women during the crack cocaine epidemic. Franklin's lawyers claim an analysis of their own had pointed guilt to someone other than their client, determined from evidence gathered from two crime scenes. But a judge ruled the expert used by the defence was not qualified to take the stand.

So the trial resumes, while Franklin's one surviving victim, Enietra Washington last year stated that she was ready to see the trial through to the end, to find a measure of closure through justice meted out to the man she accuses of having attempted to kill her. "I thought I forgave you, but I was wrong", she said in confronting him. "You stole so many people's lives."

Officers raiding Franklin's house after his arrest found pictures of more than 1,000 women and videosĀ 

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