The Superior Court jury reached its verdict on all 10 counts of first-degree murder against Lonnie David Franklin Jr, 63, after deliberating for a day and a half, capping a trial that ran for 11 weeks.
Franklin, who could face the death penalty, was also convicted of attempted murder, for an attack on an 11th victim, Enierta Washington, who survived being shot in the chest, raped, pushed out of a car, and left for dead, in 1988.
Washington took the witness stand to identify Franklin. Judge Kathleen Kennedy instructed jurors to return to the courtroom on May 12, for the penalty phase.
Franklin was convicted of shooting seven women to death, between August, 1985, and September, 1988, then strangling a 15-year-old girl, and strangling or shooting two other women, in a second round of killings, between March, 2002 and January, 2007.
The 13-year interval between the two spates of murders earned the killer the ‘Grim Sleeper’ moniker. Since his 2011 indictment, police said they had gathered evidence tying Franklin to at least six more unsolved slayings, some of which occurred during the previously presumed lapse.
Detectives said those came to light from reviewing old case files and seeking the public’s help in identifying women and girls pictured among 180 photos found in Franklin’s possession.
Franklin, who did not testify and who sat impassively as the verdicts were read, has been in custody since his arrest in July 2010.
During the trial, his attorney raised questions about DNA evidence presented by prosecutors and suggested a “mystery man” was behind the killings.
Los Angeles County deputy district attorney, Beth Silverman, told jurors that DNA collected from victims’ bodies showed that all 10 had sexual contact with Franklin just before they died.
Prosecutors said the victims had been sexually assaulted.
Their nude or partially clothed bodies were found dumped in alleys and rubbish bins in South Los Angeles, an area gripped by rampant drug abuse, prostitution, and other crime, at the height of a crack-cocaine epidemic in the 1980s.
Silverman described Franklin, a former mechanic and bin collector, as “a serial killer who was basically hiding in plain sight.”
In court, after deliberations had begun, Silverman disclosed that Franklin also had been convicted in Germany for his role in a gang rape, while he was in the army, in the 1970s.