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Jury recommends death sentence for ‘Grim Sleeper’ serial killer

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LOS ANGELES -- The same Los Angeles jury that convicted Lonnie David Franklin Jr. in the murders of nine women and a 15-year-old girl over three decades recommended a death sentence for the serial killer dubbed the "Grim Sleeper."

The jury of seven women and five men deliberated for nearly eight hours before making the decision on Monday, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office said.

Franklin, 63, is scheduled to return to court on August 10 before Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Kathleen Kennedy, who has the final say in his sentence.

The former city sanitation worker was convicted in May of 10 counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder in the case of a woman who survived a 1988 attack.

Franklin was dubbed the "Grim Sleeper" because of a 13-year gap between slayings attributed to him. Prosecutors portrayed Franklin as a sexual predator who killed his victims, then dumped their bodies in alleys and dumpsters in South Los Angeles, all within a few miles of Franklin's home. Most wore disheveled clothing suggesting they had been re-dressed and moved, Deputy District Attorney Beth Silverman said in her closing argument. They carried no identification.

During the penalty phase, the jury heard from a woman from Germany whom Franklin kidnapped and raped in 1974 while he was in the U.S. Army. Prosecutors also introduced evidence tying Franklin to four additional deaths of women between 1984 and 2006, the district attorney's office said.

Franklin was arrested in 2010 through DNA technology that did not exist in the 1980s when the initial killings happened. Prosecutors built their case on that DNA evidence, including Franklin's saliva on many of his victims' bodies, along with ballistic evidence and the testimony of a surviving victim.

Here are the women Franklin was convicted of killing and the approximate dates of their deaths:

  • Debra Jackson, 29 – Aug. 10, 1985
  • Henrietta Wright, 34 – Aug. 12, 1986
  • Barbara Ware, 23 – Jan. 10, 1987
  • Bernita Sparks, 26 – April 15, 1987
  • Mary Lowe, 26 – Nov. 1, 1987
  • Lachrica Jefferson, 22 – Jan. 30, 1988
  • Alicia Alexander, 18 – Sept. 11, 1988
  • Princess Berthomieux, 15 – March 19, 2002
  • Valeria McCorvey, 35 – July 11, 2003
  • Janecia Peters, 25 – Jan. 1, 2007