Grim Sleeper: LAPD wants voice sample of serial killer suspect
Authorities on Monday requested permission to allow police detectives to take a voice sample of the man accused of being the Grim Sleeper serial killer for comparison with voice recordings from an anonymous male caller who had reported at least two of the killings to 911 operators.
“Obviously, we want to compare his voice, so we think he is the caller,” said Det. Dennis Kilcoyne.
Lonnie David Franklin Jr. is accused of murder in the deaths of 10 women in South Los Angeles.
One of the calls that was preserved was a man reporting criminal activity in an alley where victim Barbara Ware, 23, was found shot to death Jan. 10, 1987. Authorities say they have at least one other voice recording but declined to discuss the case, saying it involved a crime that Franklin had not been charged with.
It was not clear how many 911 recordings were not kept by the LAPD, although detectives suspect Franklin made 911 calls in additional murders in the city and perhaps 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 kept for only six months before they were reused.
Franklin, 57, was arrested in July 2010 at his South L.A. home and charged with murder in the slayings of Ware as well as of 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.
Franklin, who has pleaded not guilty, is also charged with one count of attempted murder, apparently stemming from the assault, the only Grim Sleeper victim that police said is known to have survived. On Monday, Franklin's attorney Louisa Pensanti asked Superior Court Judge Patricia Schnegg to approve appointment of a second defense attorney, considering the death penalty in the case. That attorney is Seymour Amster.
Los Angeles police said in April that Franklin may have killed eight additional women, including three whose photos and identification cards were found in a refrigerator in his garage.
-- Andrew Blankstein
Photo: Police Chief Charlie Beck, left, and LAPD Det. Dennis Kilcoyne at a news conference in April on the Grim Sleeper case. Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times