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Prosecutors to seek death penalty against 'Grim Sleeper'

A photo of
A photo of "Grim Sleeper" serial killer suspect Lonnie Franklin Jr. after being booked following his July 7, 2010 arrest.
Frank Stoltze/KPCC

Los Angeles County prosecutors say they will seek the death penalty against a man accused of the "Grim Sleeper" serial killings.

Deputy District Attorney Beth Silverman told a court Monday that her office will ask a jury for the state's harshest sentence if 58-year-old Lonnie Franklin Jr. is convicted.

Franklin has pleaded not guilty to 10 counts of murder and one count of attempted murder.

Most of the victims linked to the "Grim Sleeper" were found in alleyways within a few miles of Franklin's home a few miles south of downtown Los Angeles. Those victims were shot, strangled or both, usually after some kind of sexual contact. Several were prostitutes.

Franklin, a one-time city employee, has been locked up since his July 7, 2010, arrest.

Franklin was initially dubbed the Grim Sleeper due to a large gap between groups of killings, but detectives said they now don't think there was a long delay between murders.

A former city sanitation worker and onetime Los Angeles Police Department garage attendant, Franklin was known in his South Los Angeles neighborhood as a backyard mechanic who often helped with residents' auto problems.

Authorities have said that one particular handgun was used in many of the killings. Franklin was linked to the killings after his son was arrested in 2008 on gun and drug charges. The younger Franklin submitted a DNA sample, which was connected to the alleged Grim Sleeper's DNA.

The Associated Press contributed to this story