With a guilty verdict Thursday, the Grim Sleeper officially became one of the "most prolific and enduring serial killers" in California history, the Los Angeles Times reports. Lonnie Franklin Jr., 63, was convicted of murdering 10 women, one only 15 years old, between 1985 and 2007 in South Los Angeles. A jury will now decide whether Franklin receives life in prison or the death penalty. Franklin, a former garbage collector and police garage attendant, would kill his victims and leave them partially clothed or naked in alleys and dumpsters near his home, according to CNN. He was tied to killings in 2010 using new DNA technology. The AP reports a cop posing as a busboy got Franklin's DNA off pizza crusts and napkins following a birthday celebration. It matched saliva found on the breasts of many of the victims.
More than 60 witnesses testified during the three-month trial. A surviving victim (Franklin was also found guilty of attempted murder) recalled Franklin luring her into his car, abruptly shooting her in the chest, then getting on top of her. The last thing she remembered before passing out was a camera flash. She said he pushed her out of the car when he thought she was dead. A number of Franklin's victims were prostitutes or drug addicts; all of them were black. The murders never gained the attention received by other slayings in California, and many blamed police indifference for them going unsolved. Families of the victims, many in tears, were present when the verdict was read. "He doesn't value life," CNN quotes the sister of Franklin's 15-year-old victim as saying. "He doesn't care." Prosecutors believe they have evidence of at least five more victims.