Multiple killers, more than 100 victims
By Scott Gold and Andrew Blankstein
During a 10-year period beginning in 1984, several serial killers operated in South Los Angeles, all of them targeting young, poor, African American women.
... The recent arrest of another man accused of being a serial killer active in that era, Lonnie David Franklin Jr. — allegedly the long-sought Grim Sleeper — prompted jubilation and noisy public pronouncements. The celebrations served to obscure, once again, a terrible truth about South Los Angeles: During a 10-year period beginning in 1984, multiple serial killers operated there, all of them targeting young, poor, African American women.
All told, between 1984 and 1993, more than 100 women, almost all African American, were killed by men targeting more than one victim in South L.A. and the surrounding neighborhoods, police say. So far, police have positively linked 30 of those deaths to five men:
Franklin, 57, has been charged with 10 counts of murder. Turner, 43, is on death row after raping and strangling 10 women, one of whom was six months pregnant. Louis Craine was convicted of strangling four women between 1984 and 1987; he later died in prison, at 31. Michael Hughes, 54, was accused of killing eight, four in South L.A. and nearby Inglewood. And Daniel Lee Seibert confessed to killing 13 across the United States, two of them in South L.A.; he died in prison, at 53, in 2008.
Biological evidence suggests that at least two more men, who have not been apprehended, were each responsible for at least four more deaths, officials said. That would mean at least seven serial killers were preying on women in the same neighborhood at roughly the same time.
During the years in which they were active, the South Los Angeles killers never earned the noir nicknames of the region's other infamous killers — the Night Stalker, the Hillside Strangler.
Those other crimes were notorious sagas that gained national attention and had parts of the metropolis in a state of panic. By contrast, few people in South L.A., including parents of victims, were even aware of a serial killer operating in their neighborhood — much less five or more. While the more publicized cases had distinctive hallmarks, in South L.A. there were so many people being killed, almost all of them from the margins of society, that it was difficult for neighbors or police to pinpoint any patterns.
The rapes and murders of dozens of young women were, effectively, lost in the crime wave.
"Could you imagine — more than 100 women killed and nobody notices?" said Margaret Prescod, who founded an organization 24 years ago to press for a more aggressive response to the killings and now hosts a radio show. "Could you imagine it in Beverly Hills? Palos Verdes?"
In the very long run, the gentrification of South-Central LA will be a huge deal -- the climate is too nice for it not to happen someday. (Financial Warning: Someday may not come until after you are broke.)