Lonnie David Franklin Jr., known as the Grim Sleeper, preyed on women living in Los Angeles. But what made him truly unique was his 14-year break from killing, which is how he gained his nickname.
Franklin killed at least nine women and one teenage girl in Los Angeles between the years of 1985 and 2007, but he is suspected of many more. If it wasn't for the work of one intrepid journalist determined to crack the case, he might've never been caught. He was a smart, calculated killer who preyed on the weak and kept an extremely low profile. The terrifying details of his horrific crimes are sure to send a shiver down your spine and make Franklin one of the most prolific killers of modern history.
He Took A 14 Year Break Between Killing SpreesPhoto: Ryan Vaarsi/CC BY 2.0 / Flickr
It's very unusual for a serial killer to take a long, extended break between killing sprees. In the case of the Grim Sleeper, it's suspected he took 14 years off between 1988 and 2002.
That long break is what earned him the nickname "Grim Sleeper."
People Who Knew Him Said He Was Nice, Personable, And Helpful
Franklin was known as a nice neighbor. He was "always willing to help," according to his neighbors. He hung out in his driveway, worked on cars, was a sanitation worker, and was the local neighborhood mechanic.
One Victim Got Away And Helped With The Case Against Him
One of Franklin's victims got away alive, and was instrumental in the court case against him nearly 20 years later. Enietra Washington was 30 in 1988 when she accepted a ride from a kind stranger one night in Los Angeles. He drove an orange car, and she said he looked like a nice guy.
However, he drove her around Los Angeles, made her wait in the car while he made a quick stop at his uncle's house, and then drove her down a back alley where he shot her, and left her for dead.
She survived the attack, and was able to make it to a friends house where they got her an ambulance.
He Chose Vulnerable Victims Off The Street Who Wouldn't Be On Police Radar
Franklin picked his victims up off of the street. Some of them were sex workers, some had drug problems. All of his victims came from similar neighborhoods.
Many people have criticized the police in the Grim Sleeper case, saying that if Franklin's victims had been white, he wouldn't have been able to kill for as long as he did. LAPD has refuted these claims, saying at the time Franklin was killing the department lacked resources, was understaffed, and did not have the current forensic tools they do now, which helped get Franklin convicted.