The trial of Lonnie Franklin, Jr., the alleged 'Grim Sleeper,' is taking place in Los Angeles

By Christine Pelisek
December 22, 2016 01:17 AM

Donnell Alexander made the drive from South Los Angeles to the criminal courts building in Downtown Los Angeles every day.

On trial was Grim Sleeper serial killer Lonnie Franklin Jr., accused in the murder of 10 women, including Alexander’s sister Monique, and the attempted murder of another. The Grim Sleeper terrorized South Los Angeles during his 22-year murder spree, which is the focus of the upcoming People Magazine Investigates episode “The Grim Sleeper,” which airs Monday night at 10 p.m. ET on Investigation Discovery.

Franklin was convicted in May, providing a measure of vindication and closure for the victims’ families.

“This is a process we have to go through,” Alexander told PEOPLE before the trial, every day of which he went to along with his parents, Mary and Porter.

“We know my sister is not coming back. She is in a better place.”

On the prospect of achieving justice, Alexander told PEOPLE, “It is a long time coming.”

• For more on the case of the Grim Sleeper serial killer case, watch “The Grim Sleeper” on our 10-part true crime show, People Magazine Investigates, airing Monday night at 10 p.m. ET on Investigation Discovery.

Porter Alexander, with his son Donnell Alexander, holds a photo of his daughter, a victim of the “Grim Sleeper” serial killer, at his home in Los Angeles
Nick Ut/AP

Franklin, a 64-year-old married father of two and former LAPD mechanic and sanitation worker for the city of Los Angeles, received the death penalty in June for his spree, which began on August 10, 1985, when 29-year-old cocktail waitress Debra Jackson was found shot to death in a South Los Angeles alley. His last known victim, Janecia Peters, was discovered in a dumpster on January 1, 2007.

Most of Franklin’s victims were shot with a .25-caliber pistol while others were strangled. Their bodies were discovered in dumpsters and alleyways along Western Avenue in South Los Angeles, an area known for its cheap motels, liquor stores, gambling parlors, auto salvage yards and storefront churches.

• Watch the People Magazine Investigates After Show, on the new People/Entertainment Weekly Network (PEN). Go to, or download the PEN app on Apple TV, Roku Players, Amazon Fire TV, Xumo, Chromecast, iOS and Android devices

Most of the women, who ranged in age from 15 to 35, were found without their bras, underwear and identification.

Franklin was caught in July of 2010 through familial DNA testing after his 28-year-old son, Christopher, was convicted of a felony weapons charge and had to give a DNA swab.

Once it was determined Christopher was related to the killer, detectives followed the elder Franklin to a pizza place. As Franklin finished his meal, a detective posed as a busboy to collect his fork, plastic cup, plate and parts of a pizza slice Franklin left behind. DNA from the pizza slice matched to DNA found on Grim Sleeper victims.