A serial killer dubbed the "Grim Sleeper" managed to evade the police for 25 years and was finally brought down by pizza crust.
Lonnie Franklin Jr. was classed as the “longest-operating serial killer west of the Mississippi” and was given the alias in 2008 after a victim was linked to a series of murders that took place in the 1980s.
He was eventually sentenced to death for killing nine women and a teenage girl in August 2016, after an elaborate scheme involving pizza and a party.
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In 2010, detectives used the DNA from the scenes of the murderers and connected them to crimes that had been carried out by his son Christopher, whose DNA was on the system.
The evidence allowed undercover officers to finally obtained samples of Franklin's DNA after they followed him to a birthday party at a restaurant in LA.
An officer successfully pretended to be a bus boy and picked up his plate, cup and pizza crust, which was enough DNA to convict him of murder.
The defence argued it should be thrown out and said it was a “reasonable expectation of privacy” but the idea of food being private was overruled.
Prior to him being caught, ballistic evidence from the 25 calibre gun used, DNA from the crimes and his only survivors description of her assailant helped make milestones in the case in 2007.
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Franklin’s home was searched upon his arrest in 2010, and shocked detectives took almost 1,000 disturbing photos of women and teenage girls into evidence.
Some of which were naked, unconscious, bleeding and most likely dead, reports Rolling Stone.
Cops began to fear there were more victims with a suspected chilling amount of 25. His victims were all black women and mainly prostitutes.
Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck previously said: "We certainly don’t believe we are so lucky or so good as to know all of his victims. We need the public’s help.”
Franklin's neighbours were non the wiser and had described him as "friendly and quiet.”
He further didn't fit the usual profile of a serial killer, as his first known committed murder wasn't until the age of 32. His first victim was confirmed as Debra Jackson in 1985.
The killer maintained his innocence on all of the charges throughout the trial and was found unresponsive in his cell while on death row in 2020.
Police said there was no signs of trauma.
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