Monday 9 December 2019

Jury wants death penalty for the 'Grim Sleeper'

Lonnie Franklin Jr, who has been dubbed the
Lonnie Franklin Jr, who has been dubbed the "Grim Sleeper" serial killer, looks back at his attorney, Louisa Pensanti, during a court hearing in Los Angeles. Photo AP

Robert Tait in Los Angeles

A former bin man convicted of murdering nine women and a teenage girl in a spate of serial killings that earned him the nickname 'the Grim Sleeper' should face the death penalty, a jury has decided.

The verdict by jurors in an LA courtroom drew expressions of thanks and appreciation from relatives of those killed by Lonnie Franklin Jnr over a 22-year period, starting in 1985.

Franklin (63) was found guilty last month of the killings in which he targeted women, some of whom worked as prostitutes or were cocaine addicts. His youngest victim was just 15.

The jury vote sentencing him to death followed an emotional appeal from a prosecutor who argued that jurors should afford Franklin the same compassion that he showed his victims by opting for the "ultimate penalty" of execution.

Dale Atherton, Franklin's defence lawyer, had pleaded for mercy, arguing that execution would "delay the healing process" for the victims' families.

The judge, who will decide whether to accept and impose the jury's recommendation, set the sentencing for August 10.

The 'Grim Sleeper' name came because it was initially believed there was a 14-year gap between his first killing spree in the mid '80s and his next murder in 2002.

Irish Independent

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