PTSD in South LA, School Board election apathy + Leimert Park on KCET

Vice News: Are some parts of South L.A. like war battlefields? Some high schools are offering PTSD counseling for students affected by gang violence in their neighborhoods.

LA School Report: Apathy wins the day in LAUSD School Board race, with 10 percent of voters going to the polls for the District 1 election.

LA Weekly: A strange twist in the Grim Sleeper murder case.

LA Times: The city’s foreclosure registry is getting an update. And LA Times Opinion: “The [foreclosed] houses themselves become focal points for a range of criminal activities. Together, they bring down the property values and damage the lifestyles of homeowners barely holding on to their own houses and dignity.”

LA Times: An expanded “neighborhood prosecutors” program from the City Attorney’s office could help South L.A. combat blight.

KCET: Mark your calendars for June 11 at 8 p.m. — KCET is taking a look at the future of Leimert Park, a neighborhood in flux with a new Metro stop planned for 2018.

LAPD seeks community’s help to identify Grim Sleeper pictures

The mood was somber at the Bethel AME Church in South Los Angeles on Wednesday evening.

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck and councilmember of district 8 Bernard Parks hosted a community meeting to inform the public of the latest developments on the “Grim Sleeper” serial killer case. Lonnie Franklin Jr., the alleged “Grim Sleeper,” was arrested last year and is accused of murdering 10 South Los Angeles men and women between 1985 and 2007. He also stands accused of one attempted murder charge.


Chief Beck provided information on six new women that they believe Franklin also murdered. One more attempted murder victim has also been identified. The woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, was beaten and left for dead. She is one of only two of the Grim Sleeper’s victims who has lived to identify him. Chief Beck calculated that there are 18 cases against Franklin – 16 murders and two attempted murders. Even though LAPD has evidence that Franklin could have murdered these six missing women, they will not add additional charges so that the case can go to court more quickly. The six South LA women’s photos are featured below.

Photo courtesy of LAPD

On Wednesday evening, the LAPD also launched new fliers online with pictures found in Franklin’s residence. The photographs were found after lengthy searches through Franklin’s computer, memory cards, and photographs. There was a total of 180 photographs that were previously identified but, in an unprecedented move, the pictures were shared with the community to help identify the women. Detective Dennis Kilcoyne said, “Much to our happiness, 99 percent of them were alive and well. Most of them didn’t want to become public.” He continued, “They proved to us who they were and that they had done some stupid things way back when in their lives when they crossed paths with Mr. Franklin. They didn’t want to revisit it publicly.”

Still, 48 of the 180 photographs that have yet to be identified.

Chief Beck stated, “Those photos mean something… there are victims’ faces in those photos. We need to identify as many more as we can.” Detective Kilcoyne told the community, “We’re coming to you for help.” The detectives are concerned for the women’s well-being and are ensure of whether they’re still alive.

Photo courtesy of LAPD

The posters can be found at the LAPD website.

Chief Beck said that he is doubtful that Franklin will ever identify these women himself.

But that doesn’t mean that the detectives are giving up hope in identifying the women themselves. They have partnered with Hawthorne, Gardena, Inglewood, the sheriff’s department, and the Department of Justice to help solve missing persons files and cold cases that may be tied to Franklin’s 26-year criminal spree. Detective Kilcoyne stated that investigators “were trying things that had never been tried before investigating cases in this country.” One effort in particular that Kilcoyne called “unorthodox” was the use of “familial DNA” to use a “backwards family tree” linking Franklin’s son to him and ultimately leading to Franklin’s arrest in July 2010.

Even though detectives are trying “unorthodox” procedures to solve possible Grim Sleeper cases, some more obvious methods to seek help may have been ignored. A member of the Southern California Cease Fire Committee, a group of gang intervention workers and business right advocates, asked whether women in prison had been asked to identify the photographs. Chief Beck looked surprised and said no, saying, “I don’t know why my guys couldn’t think of that earlier.”

In addition, another woman asked whether the photos were shared on Facebook. Chief Beck also replied that this had not be done yet.


Informational posters were on display at the meeting

CD8 member, and former LAPD Chief of Police, Bernard Parks spoke to the community and called the Grim Sleeper’s murder spree “a horror in our community.” Parks led a number of unprecedented movements to help catch the Grim Sleeper and identify his victims. He consistently publicized a $500,000 reward for information leading to the Grim Sleeper’s capture and partnered with Clear Channel in creating billboards with information about the murders. In 2001, Parks succeeded in establishing the nation’s first Cold Case Unit, which proved invaluable in leading to Franklin’s arrest in July 2010. Parks vowed that he would continue to work with the LAPD and Chief Beck in identifying the 48 photographs that were publicized that night.


Chief Beck commended the community for helping investigators take 180 previously unidentified photographs found in Franklin’s residence and whittling the number to now 48 unidentified photos. Chief Beck said, “This community and this police department never gave up on those victims. Never. And we never will.”


Despite their best efforts, Chief Beck said, “We may never how many men and women Lonnie Franklin killed. But we’re going to do our best to find out.” Looking at the victims’ families sitting on one side of the church, Beck continued, “We can never get closure. We can never right completely the wrong that has been done not only to these families but to this community.”

LaVerne Peters, mother of Janecia Peters, one of Franklin’s victims found murdered on January 1, 2007, wondered if her daughter had been the last of Franklin’s victims. Chief Beck replied that they didn’t think there were any more victims after Peters but said, “We cannot shut the door to possibilities until July of 2010 when we had him in custody.” Franklin returned to Los Angeles on May 7, 1976 after serving in the Army and being stationed in Europe. Investigators are also not discounting the possibility that Franklin committed crimes while overseas. Chief Beck said May 1976 is what they consider the starting point of investigating Jane Does, cold cases, and missing persons’ files that may be linked to Franklin. Their timeline ends in July 2010, when Franklin was finally arrested.

Diane McQueen, the aunt of Janecia Peters, said, “I’ve been in this neighborhood for 12 years. This man has been around me all these years while he was killing these girls.” McQueen expressed her disbelief about possibly coming face to face with her niece’s killer during her everyday life. “I could have seen him in stores and markets. He looks like everyday people. You never know who you’re facing.”

Eight more women added to Grim Sleeper killings

imageThe Los Angeles Police Department announced their new focus on eight new women connected to the Grim Sleeper. Six were missing persons, one was an unsolved homicide case, and the eighth woman is unidentified.

Lonnie Franklin Jr., a South Los Angeles resident, was arrested last July for the killing of 10 south Los Angeles women. The youngest was 14 years old, and the oldest victim was 36.

Since his arrest, police have collected evidence, including many photos, from Franklin’s home. Evidence led police to identify three missing persons who were at or near his home.

LAPD detective Dennis Kilcoyne said two photo I.D.s were found in Franklin’s home, including one of Ayellah Marshall. She disappeared in February of 2005 at 18 years old. She was a senior at Hawthorne High School.

Another I.D. found belonged to Rolenia Morris. It says she was from Las Vegas Nevada.

With more women being identified through evidence, Kilcoyne said he doesn’t believe “Grim Sleeper” is still an appropriate nickname.

“I think the more we find out, the more we’re going to fill in that gap,” said Kilcoyne.

Police still have photos to comb through and identify, and are asking the community to take a look at them. They hope those frozen in the photos won’t have to be added to the Grim Sleeper’s victims list.

Below is LAPD detective Dennis Kilcoyne talking about what his team has ahead of them.

‘Grim Sleeper’ pleads not guilty to alleged murders

The “Grim Sleeper,” a former mechanic suspected of killing at least 10 women in South Los Angeles, pleaded not guilty Monday, the Los Angeles Wave reported.

Private attorney Louisa Pensanti, who is representing the defendant for free, entered the plea for 57-year-old Lonnie Franklin Jr. As the Daily News reported, Franklin spoke very little during his arraignment in downtown Los Angeles.

Police captured Franklin July 7 after they linked his DNA to evidence found at different scenes; investigators determined that Franklin’s son had DNA similar to the killer. They obtained Franklin’s DNA and discovered that his matched alleged evidence from murders committed between 1985 and 1988, and between 2002 and 2007.

Since his capture last month, Franklin has been held in jail without bail. He allegedly murdered all of the women just a few miles from his South Los Angeles home.
The name “Grim Sleeper” comes from the defendant’s 14-year break between supposed murders.

Family and friends of victims attended the hearing.

Franklin will appear in court Sept. 14 when a pre-trial date will be set. The court will determine whether there is enough evidence to require Franklin to stand trial.

If convicted, the defendant can possibly face the death penalty.