More than 40 years after being gang raped by three U.S. military men in Stuttgart Germany, a woman identified only as Ingrid W. will face one of her attackers when she testifies Thursday in the penalty phase in the trial of convicted “Grim Sleeper” serial killer Lonnie Franklin Jr. in Los Angeles.
Franklin, 63, was found guilty earlier this month for the murders of 10 women and the attempted murder of another in South Los Angeles during a 23-year killing spree that began in the mid-1980s.
In 1974, when Franklin was a private in the U.S. Army stationed in Stuttgart, Germany, he was arrested and sentenced to three years and four months in prison for the rape and kidnapping of Ingrid W. as well as the attempted kidnapping of an unidentified 18-year-old woman that same night. The screams of the 18-year-old alerted neighbors, who called police.
However, Franklin served less than one year in prison.
Around 12:30 a.m. on April 17, 1974, Ingrid W., then 17, left her boyfriend’s home and was walking toward the train station when three U.S. Army soldiers pulled up alongside her in their Fiat car.
The men, who were stationed at the nearby Kelley Barracks, asked for directions, then offered her a ride home. Ingrid W. got into the car and the men drove her to a remote location at knifepoint and took turns raping her. One of them photographed the savage attack. Then they drove her home. Before she was dropped off she coaxed one of her attackers to give her his phone number. Lonnie Franklin, a 21-year-old Los Angeles native and army cook, obliged.
Ingrid W, went to the hospital and reported the attack to the police, LAPD detective Daryn Dupree tells PEOPLE. “She scheduled to meet Franklin at the train station and when she saw him, she dropped a handkerchief and that was the signal for the police to get him.”
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Franklin was arrested on May 6, 1974. Following an eight-day trial in which Ingrid W. testified, he was convicted and sentenced. The other two men received four year prison sentences for the rape and kidnapping and attempted kidnapping.
After serving less than one year, Franklin was given a general discharge from the U.S. Army on July 24, 1975.
“We don’t know why he got out,” says Dupree. “The other guys did their whole time.”
Police learned about Franklin’s German charges after uncovering his military papers during a three-day search of his home after his July 2010 arrest.
“He got caught and got away with it and he came back here and he started getting girls again,” says Dupree. “But, as soon as they showed hesitation or gave him a hard time, he killed them. Any inkling of him getting caught, or them treating him bad, he killed them.”
Police found more than 1,000 photos and videotapes of women and teenage girls in the former LAPD mechanic and sanitation worker’s possession. Among them were: a Polaroid photo of survivor Enietra Washington, who testified that Franklin shot her in the chest, sexually assaulted her, and took a Polaroid picture of her before pushing her out of his car in November of 1988; and a photo of 25-year-old victim Janecia Peters.
Dupree believes Franklin, now 63, picked up the habit of photographing his victims after the German gang rape. “It triggered something in him,” he says. “That shows he got the habit of taking photos of girls after he picked them up.”