Fingernails spotted in trash led to arrest of alleged killer

Published 9:14 am Tuesday, May 3, 2016

LOS ANGELES — A serial killer preying on vulnerable young black women on the rough streets of south Los Angeles eluded police for two decades until someone rifling through a dumpster in 2007 noticed red fingernails poking out of a garbage bag.

Inside was the body of Janecia Peters that provided clues connecting her slaying to nine others and eventually led to the arrest of a suspect in the “Grim Sleeper” slayings.

A prosecutor displayed charts, diagrams, photos and DNA test results to jurors Monday to make her case that Lonnie Franklin Jr. was a killer hiding in plain sight as he shot and strangled women, many prostitutes, and dumped their bodies in alleys not far from his home.

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“Ten young women,” Deputy District Attorney Beth Silverman said during closing arguments in Los Angeles Superior Court. “All of them cruelly murdered by that man.”