Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center (Cal State L.A.)

1800 Paseo Rancho Castilla LA 90032

Buy Tickets

The Grim Sleeper Case: Stopping A Serial Killer in South Los Angeles

The Los Angeles Visionaries Association, Esotouric and Professor Donald Johnson invite you to the Cal State Los Angeles teaching crime lab for an afternoon’s inquiry into the history and practice of forensic science in Southern California, in support of new research coming out of the Criminalistics Department.

The focus of this seminar is the recently adjudicated South Los Angeles serial murder cold case, The Grim Sleeper.

Lonnie David Franklin Jr. was arrested by LAPD on July 7, 2010 after a lengthy task force investigation into a decades-long series of murders of women in the South Los Angeles area. The killing began in the mid-1980s, stopped for 13 years (the inspiration for the killer’s nickname), and resumed in the the early 2000s. Deputy District Attorney Beth Silverman of the Major Crimes Division and Deputy District Attorney Marguerite Rizzo of the Forensic Science Section prosecuted the case.

Franklin, a former city sanitation worker, was convicted on May 5, 2016 of all 10 counts of first-degree murder, with the special circumstance of multiple murders. During the penalty phase, prosecutors introduced evidence tying Franklin to four additional murders of women between 1984 and 2006. On August 10, 2016, Franklin was sentenced to death for the killing of nine women and one teenage girl over the span of two decades.

The seminar will be hosted by Marguerite Rizzo, one of the prosecutors on the case. Also presenting, journalist Christine Pelisek, whose groundbreaking reporting for the L.A. Weekly gave the serial killer his nickname and brought the case into public consciousness. You’ll learn first hand how this cold case crime spree was solved through a combination of investigative tenacity and advances in forensic analysis, specifically the use of familial DNA to identify a suspect. Then we’ll follow the investigation into the courtroom, where after so many years of questions and heartbreak, a jury weighed the evidence and finally found the killer guilty.

Join us for a powerful educational program that takes us deep inside the investigation to identify and stop a deadly predator before he could kill again.

MARGUERITE RIZZO is currently assigned as the Deputy-In-Charge of the Forensic Science Section at the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. Rizzo has been a Deputy District Attorney since 1999 and has been assigned to a number of branch offices throughout Los Angeles County. Before being promoted to the DIC of the Forensic Science Section, Rizzo was also assigned to two special trial units, the Family Violence Division and the Elder Abuse section.

CHRISTINE PELISEK is an award-winning journalist who has been covering crime for almost fifteen years. She is currently a senior writer for PEOPLE Magazine, and previously worked at LA Weekly where she broke the story about the Grim Sleeper serial killer and was able to get authorities to publicly admit that a serial killer had been stalking African American women in South Los Angeles since the 1980s. She received a Certificate of Appreciation from the City of Los Angeles for her work on the case. She has also covered national stories for The Daily Beast and 20/20. She’s been profiled in the Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, Columbia Journalism Review, Ottawa Sun and has been interviewed as a crime expert by CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, Headline News and the Nancy Grace Show.