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Episode 53: Grim Sleeper Police Interrogation

On July 7, 2010, the LAPD reported that an arrest had been made in the case of the serial killer responsible for the deaths of at least ten poor black women, many drug addicted prostitutes, in south central Los Angeles between 1980 and 2010 (detectives later estimated the perpetrator may have killed up to 25 women).  The case became controversial when it was revealed that the LAPD had originally marked the deaths with the identification “NHI” (meaning No Humans Involved, an internal code used for cases involving chronic drug users and prostitutes).

The suspect was 57-year-old car mechanic Lonnie David Franklin Jr. As the police interviewer reveals, Franklin was arrested after DNA was retrieved from the crime scenes. When there was no exact match with any of the profiles in California’s DNA profile database, police searched the database for stored profiles that demonstrated sufficient similarity to allow police to infer a familial relationship. They found similar DNA belonging to Franklin’s son, Christopher, who had been convicted of a felony weapons charge. Detective then obtained a piece of discarded pizza containing Franklin’s DNA to make the match. The fact he does not confess is irrelevant: the DNA profile has already spoken. To add insult to injury, Franklin refers to two of the victims, when shown their pictures, as “fat” and “butt ugly.”

On May 5, 2016, a jury convicted him of killing nine women and one teenage girl, and on August 10, 2016, Lonnie Franklin Jr. was sentenced to death.

Listen to the episode here.