Lonnie David Franklin, the so-called “Grim Sleeper” profiled in Nick Broomfield’s recent documentary “Tales of the Grim Sleeper,” was found guilty on Thursday of murdering 10 Southern California people (9 women and one teenage girl) over the span of three decades. As CNN notes, The conviction marks Franklin as one of the most prolific serial killers in California history.
Franklin’s crimes occurred between 1985 and 2007, including a three-year spree between 1985 and 1988 and a long gap between crimes that held out until about 2002, when he appeared to be active again.
The case of the Grim Sleeper was documented by Nick Broomfield in his “Tales from the Grim Sleeper,” a doc that dug into the case and quite specifically identified Franklin as the killer.
In 2014, Broomfield (writing for Indiewire) shared some of his thoughts on how the case speaks to the current climate of crime in America.
He wrote, “When I was making ‘Tales of the Grim Sleeper’ in Los Angeles, I came across a very similar slogan: Black women’s lives matter… Every life is of value.’ Put forward by the Black Coalition Fighting Back Serial Murders, it referred to over 200 black women who disappeared over a 30-year period, most of whom have never been accounted for. This took place in the middle of Los Angeles not 15 miles from where I live, in South Central – the black area of town – which would have been unthinkable in Beverly Hills or Santa Monica. I also came across the term ‘NHI,’ which is a slang expression the LAPD used, meaning “No Human Involved,” a term police used mainly when dealing with murders of black prostitutes, drug addicts, or gang members. It’s an expression used in reference to people not worthy of full personhood, disposable people not seen as deserving of a proper inquiry, forensics, or any follow-up.”
Check out Broomfield’s piece to get a closer look at the case and the environment in which the crimes first occurred, it’s simply shocking.
The trial, being held in Los Angeles County Superior Court, will go to the penalty phase starting on May 11, during which jurors will be asked to decide if Franklin should be given the death penalty. CNN reports that prosecutors revealed earlier in the week that two other women, one who accused him of attempted rape and one who accused him of attempted rape and kidnapping, may testify during this portion of the trial.