LOS ANGELES (CN) – Attorney General Jerry Brown says a controversial DNA family search program led to the arrest Wednesday of a suspected serial killer, who will be charged with 10 counts of murder with special circumstances. Lonnie David Franklin Jr., 57, was arrested Wednesday morning by Los Angeles police, Brown said. Brown said Franklin is suspected of being the “Grim Sleeper” serial killer.
Police call the suspect the Grim Sleeper because of the long interval between attacks. He is suspected of targeting black women, some of them prostitutes, in murders dating back to 1985. The same small-caliber gun is believed to have been used in all the killings.
Brown said the L.A. County District Attorney is expected to charge Franklin with 10 counts of murder and one count of attempted murder, all with special circumstances.
The attorney general, and gubernatorial candidate, touted the arrest as vindication for a policy change he pushed through in 2008, allowing “familial DNA searches where there is great risk to public safety.”
California is the first state to use family searches of DNA to seek suspects through the state’s DNA data bank, Brown said in a statement.
Brown said a member of Franklin’s family was convicted of a felony weapons charge in 2009, and a familial DNA search conducted in June this year “established a familial connection between the family member and DNA collected at the murder scenes. That connection was used to identify and arrest Franklin after his DNA was obtained.”
Brown called a press conference for 11 a.m. today (Thursday) in Los Angeles, where he said he would provide more details.