A California jury recommended the death penalty for the “Grim Sleeper” serial killer, the man convicted of murdering 10 women in the span of three decades, Reuters reported Monday. The vote to execute Lonnie Franklin Jr., a former sanitation worker, was made after eight hours of deliberation, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office said.
Franklin preyed on female prostitutes and drug addicts in Los Angeles in the mid-1980s at the height of a crack cocaine epidemic. He dumped his nude or partially clothed victims in alleys and dumpsters. Some of the victims were pictured in over 180 photos found in Franklin’s home.
"I'm just glad it's over and that he'll never get out to hurt anyone else," Diana Ware, whose stepdaughter Barbara was one of the victims, told the Los Angeles Times Monday. "Justice was served."
The serial killer, 63, was found guilty last month after an 11-week trial. He was convicted of fatally shooting seven women between August 1985 and September 1988. He strangled or shot three other women, including a 15-year-old girl, between March 2002 and January 2007.
The name “Grim Sleeper” referred to the gaps between the killings. Franklin was tied to other slayings during his trial, possibly being responsible for the deaths of 25 women. He was not charged with those crimes because he was already facing the death penalty and the prosecutor did not want to potentially delay the trial.
One woman who survived, Enierta Washington, testified against Franklin at the trial. The jury convicted him of attempted murder after he shot Washington in the chest, raped her and then pushed her out of a car, leaving her for dead in 1988. She was his 11th victim.
“They were so vicious, they were so calculated, and they were so demeaning,” Deputy District Attorney Beth Silverman said of the killings. “The way that these women ended up, half of them naked ... all of them in filthy alleys.”
There has not been an execution in California since 2006. At the time, there were problems with its three-drug cocktail for lethal injection, a federal judge found. The state is trying to find a new way to carry out lethal injection.
A formal sentencing for Franklin has been set for Aug. 10.
Follow me on Twitter @mariamzzarella