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Memorial held for 'Grim Sleeper' victims

August 10, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
It's been a quarter of a century to the day since the serial killer known as the "Grim Sleeper" first struck in South Los Angeles. Tuesday night, with a suspect now in custody, people gathered to remember that first victim and others at a memorial service.

The 25-year anniversary comes only one month after Los Angeles Police arrested the man, Lonnie Franklin Jr., they say is responsible for the "Grim Sleeper" serial murders. And while the memorial Tuesday night was focused on 10 victims and their families, there was also a lot of talk about the accused killer.

The hurt and anguish remains even with those who lost their loved ones decades ago.

The message centered on forgiveness. The prayers asked for strength. But there was also anger at the memorial service Tuesday night, directed at the man accused of killing 10 women over the course of 20 years.

"When he's executed, that's closure. When his eyes are closed, he takes his last breath, that's closure," said South L.A. resident Darrel Sims.

Sims was talking about Lonnie Franklin Jr. The 57-year-old mechanic was arrested at his home in South Los Angeles last month and charged with the murders of 10 young women.

"Hopefully we'll get the justice that is basically needed, to more or less give us all some satisfaction that this person has been dealt with," said Porter Alexander, father to one of the victims.

Alexander's daughter, Alicia, was one of the 10 victims honored at the Tuesday night vigil at Bethel A.M.E. Church of Los Angeles.

Family members took turns at the lectern and spoke of their loved ones whose lives were cut short.

"I just want him to suffer for what he did to all these family members up in here," said Kenneitha Lowe, whose sister was murdered. "We all feel the same thing."

Earlier Tuesday, people wrote messages on the photos of the 10 victims that lined the sidewalk.

"It's so sad. They were so young," said South L.A. resident Raynique Brown. "And it was so many in the neighborhood. We passed by to see where he lived. That's so sad."

It was 25 years ago to the day when the body of Debra Jackson was found dumped in an alley near South Vermont Avenue. Prosecutors say Franklin went on to kill at least 10 others. He's also implicated in the deaths of others, as investigators continue to pore over cold cases.

Franklin remains behind bars. He is set to be arraigned later this month. The trial is still at least months away.


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