'Grim Sleeper' Suspect Lonnie Franklin Jr. May Be Linked to 8 More Female Victims

"Grim Sleeper" suspect may be linked to 8 more female victims

April 06, 2011, 1:49 AM

April 6, 2011— -- Lonnie Franklin Jr., the man suspected of being the "Grim Sleeper" serial killer, may be responsible for the disappearance or murder of eight more women, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck said evidence uncovered at Franklin Jr.'s home could tie him to six missing persons, one unsolved murder and the possible murder of an unidentified woman.

Police announced the findings Tuesday night as part of their ongoing investigation into a series of killings and missing persons in and around the Los Angeles community where the 57-year-old lived.

Franklin, Jr. is accused of murdering 10 young women between 1985 and 2007 in South Los Angeles.

He had been dubbed the "Grim Sleeper" because of the perceived 14-year-gap in his alleged crime spree.

Evidence Found at Home Links Suspect to 3 Victims

Of the six missing, investigators connected three of them to Franklin, Jr. with evidence found at his home.

Detectives also believe Franklin ,Jr. is linked to an unsolved 1988 murder of a woman who lived and worked near his south Los Angeles home.

Another woman's identity is unknown, but police found a photo of her in his refrigerator - a place that seemed to be where the suspect kept snap shots of several women.

It's "what appears to be his special location," for storing his cache of pictures, said lead homicide detective Dennis Kilycoyne.

Following his arrest last summer, police spent three days combing through his home and property.

There, they collected mounds of evidence against the former city sanitation worker, including thousands of photographs of different woman - most of them unidentified.

This past December, the Los Angeles Police Department released 180 photos of those mysterious women in effort to get the public's help in identifying them. The response was overwhelming and leads poured into the downtown Los Angeles police headquarters.

Tainting Jury Pool?

The suspect's defense attorney says she was not contacted by the LAPD about the new potential victims. Louisa Pensanti says she heard the news on the radio while driving. "These are mere leads to follow and investigate. If there was real evidence the police would have taken the information to the prosecutor instead of to the public. It's just another example of trial by court of public opinion instead of by a court of law."

Photos Jeopardize Franklin Jr.'s Fair Trial

Pensanti has criticized police for releasing the photographs of women found at Franklin Jr.'s home.

Pensanti said the photos are of Franklin Jr.'s friends and family and that their release is "jeopardizing Lonnie Franklin's chance for a fair trial."

"The photographs include members and friends of the Franklin family, all now subject to the intense scrutiny of the public as well as the police," Pensanti told ABC News.

She added that the photos were not part of the evidence discovery that she was provided with by the District Attorney's Office, and she also told the Associated Press that Franklin's relatives are upset the photos were released.

The Los Angeles Police Department says they offered the suspect's wife the opportunity to come in and identify those photos.

But in an interview with ABC News' David Wright, Kilcoyne doubted the alleged murderer ever took a break from his killing spree.

"I don't believe for a minute he was quiet."

Franklin, Jr. is charged with 10 counts of murder and one attempted murder. He is due back in court on June 1.

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