Grim Sleeper killings: Valerie McCorvey, 35, in 2003 [Updated]
Died July 11, 2003
Valerie McCorvey, a 35-year old black woman, was found dead July 11, 2003, on Denker Avenue between 108th and 109th streets in the Westmont area, authorities said.
Los Angeles police believe she is the 10th of 11 victims of a serial killer known as "the Grim Sleeper."
On July 7, 2010, authorities arrested Lonnie David Franklin Jr., a 57-year-old black man, at his home in South Los Angeles after police said they made DNA matches linking him to McCorvey's killing, as well as others dating from 1985 to 2007.
Prosecutors said they have charged Franklin with 10 counts of murder, noting that he is eligible for the death penalty. He has not been charged in the 1986 shooting death of Thomas Steele, a 36-year old black man, although authorities believe Steele's killing is connected to the other cases.
Franklin is a former city trash collector who at one time worked as a vehicle mechanic at an LAPD station, sources said.
[Update July 9: At the time of McCorvey's death, Franklin had recently been sentenced to serve 270 days in jail and should have still been incarcerated on the day he is alleged to have killed her, according to county jail records.
Before his sentencing in April, three months before McCorvey was killed, Los Angeles probation officers wrote that Franklin — then 50 — had admitted spending three decades as an active criminal and was back to his old ways when he was caught driving a luxury SUV stolen from the Glendale Galleria.
"If at this age the defendant is still engaging in criminal activities … the community can best be served by imposing the maximum time possible in state prison," one probation officer wrote.
Franklin faced up to three years in prison after pleading no contest to receiving stolen property. As part of a plea agreement with prosecutors, however, he was sentenced to jail for 270 days.
Once he entered jail, Franklin again benefited from Los Angeles' overburdened justice system. Sheriff's officials were releasing inmates early to ease overcrowding in the county's jails. Franklin was released in May 2003, more than four months early, according to jail data obtained by The Times.
Two months later, a crossing guard in the Westmont area of the city stumbled across McCorvey's lifeless body. The 35-year-old had suffered trauma to her neck, police said.]
— Times staff reports
Map shows location of home of Lonnie David Franklin, Jr. and the locations of where the Grim Sleeper's victims were found. Click for more details.
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Updated: July 9, 2010 at 10:23 p.m.