Police Make Arrest in Grim Sleeper Killings - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Police Make Arrest in Grim Sleeper Killings

LOS ANGELES — A one-time police mechanic was arrested and charged Wednesday in the serial killing of 10 people over 25 years after a DNA sample from his son was found to bear a close resemblance to DNA found on the victims.

Lonnie Franklin Jr., 57, was charged with 10 counts of murder, one count of attempted murder and special circumstance allegations of multiple murders that could make him eligible for the death penalty if convicted, District Attorney Steve Cooley said.

"Today is a good day," Donnell Alexander, the brother of victim Monique Alexander, said as he watched police activity outside the South Los Angeles house where the arrest was made earlier in the day.

Detectives have spent years investigating slayings between 1985 and 2007 in which the killer targeted young black women and one man. The attacker was dubbed the "Grim Sleeper" because he apparently took a 14-year hiatus from his crimes, from 1988 to 2002.

The break in the case came after Franklin's son was arrested and swabbed for DNA, said Alexander, who was given a briefing on the case by robbery-homicide detectives.

Using a technique known as a familial DNA search, the sample came back as similar to evidence in the serial killings, leading police to investigate relatives of the man who was arrested.

Detectives later swabbed a cup used by Lonnie Franklin Jr. at a restaurant and confirmed his DNA matched that in the serial killings, Alexander said, citing his briefing by police. Two police officials confirmed Alexander's account.

Cooley believes the "Grim Sleeper" case was the first time a familial DNA search has been used successfully in California.

State Attorney General Jerry Brown said the match came when an unspecified family member of Franklin was swabbed after getting convicted on a felony weapons charge.

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