*The man charged with 10 murders in the Los Angeles “Grim Sleeper” case was arrested at least 15 times over four decades but never sent to state prison despite recommendations of probation officers, including one who urged he receive a maximum sentence because it was a bad sign that a man in his 50s still committed crimes, court and jail records show.
Lonnie Franklin Jr., 57, was arrested for burglary, car theft, firearms possession and assaults. But his crimes never were considered serious enough to send him to state prison or to warrant his entry in the state’s DNA database, authorities said.
“He’s danced to the raindrops for a long time without getting wet,” Detective Dennis Kilcoyne, head of the task force investigating the killings, told the Los Angeles Times.
At a Saturday community forum on the murders, city councilman and former police chief Bernard Parks said law enforcement and police should not be faulted for their past handling of Franklin.
“That’s not unusual,” Parks said of Franklin’s short sentences and frequent quick releases. He said jails are “constantly evaluating who can be let go to make room.”
But Parks, who as police chief from 1997-2002 ordered new examination of cold case files and as city councilman in the area of the killings raised a reward of $500,000 before the arrest, said he understands frustration from victim’s relatives and community.
One of the victims was killed in July 2003, when records show Franklin should have been in county jail but was released early because of overcrowding.
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