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Grim Sleeper: LAPD believes serial killer suspect reported slaying to 911

August 2, 2011 |  7:17 am

SuspectThe 911 call came in from a man said he saw the body of a woman being dumped in an alley.

Someone "threw her out," he said.

He also reported a full license plate number for the van the body had been dumped from -- 1PZP746 -- but would not give his name to the emergency operator because he "knew too many people."

When they arrived on the 1300 block of East 56th Street on Jan. 10, 1987, Los Angeles police found Barbara Ware, 23, shot to death.

INTERACTIVE MAP: Grim Sleeper killings, 1985-2007

Authorities last year charged Lonnie Davis Franklin Jr. in Ware's death and the slayings of nine other people, claiming he was the notorious "Grim Sleeper" serial killer.

Now, prosecutors say it might have been Franklin himself who placed that 911 call.

They want permission to record Franklin's voice so they can compare it to the 24-year-old tape. A match of the voices would add to a trove of evidence -- including DNA -- that detectives say connects Franklin to at least 10 murders in the 1980s and 1990s.

The 57-year-old former sanitation work has been in custody since July 2010, when he was charged with the slayings of Ware; Debra Jackson, 29; Henrietta Wright, 35; Bernita Sparks, age unknown; Mary Lowe, 26; Lachrica Jefferson, 22; Alicia Alexander, 18; Princess Berthomieux, 15; Valerie McCorvey, 35; and Janecia Peters, 25.

LAPD Det. Dennis Kilcoyne said investigators decided to push to record Franklin's voice after police played the 911 tape for people who knew him and their immediate response was that he was the caller.

Detectives suspect he may have called in other murders in the city and perhaps elsewhere in L.A. County.

Typically, 911 recordings are kept for seven years and then destroyed, unless detectives on a case make copies of their own. At one point in the 1980s, recordings were typically kept for only six months before they were reused.

Franklin has pleaded not guilty. Los Angeles police said in April that he may have killed eight additional women, including three whose photos and identification cards were found in a refrigerator in his garage.


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-- Andrew Blankstein (Twitter: @anblanx)

Photo: Authorities want to compare a voice sample of Grim Sleeper slaying suspect Lonnie Franklin Jr. with a tape of a 911 call reporting one of the slayings. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times