“That’s what’s wrong with you black women,” she said he told her, according to People magazine. “People can’t be nice to you.”
Washington said she thought he was just being nice and that she “felt sorry for him.” So she took a chance and got into the car of the man who came to be known as the “Grim Sleeper.”
Washington, now 57, testified Thursday in a Los Angeles court about the night she said Franklin shot her, sexually assaulted her and snapped a photo of her before he pushed her out of the Pinto and left her to die.
After that night, authorities and the media took to calling Franklin the “Grim Sleeper” — a nod to a years-long break in slayings between 1988 and 2002.
Franklin, 63, now faces 10 counts of murder in the deaths of nine women and a 15-year-old girl, as well as Washington’s attempted murder. Among the victims, Washington is believed to be the sole survivor.
In November 1988, Washington was on her way to a friend’s house when she accepted the ride.
Washington said in court Thursday that Franklin told her he needed to stop by his uncle’s house to get some money. After that, she testified, he started acting strange, saying that Washington was “dogging him out.”
Washington said he called her by another woman’s name and then started muttering. Then, she recalled, things got “eerily quiet,” and she soon noticed blood leaking from her chest.
Washington, at the time a 30-year-old mother with two children, said she was trying to stay conscious and knew she needed help.
“I kept wanting to know why he shot me,” she said, according to People. “I said, ‘You need to take me to the hospital.’ He said he can’t do that.
“I said, ‘If I die I am going to haunt you. You are going to have to take care of my kids.'”
From 1985 to 2007, authorities said, Franklin murdered 10 women, including the teenager. But it took years for them to identify him as the suspect.
In the 2000s, police investigators began digging into the city’s cold cases, using DNA evidence from hair and skin to find answers. Then, they turned their attention to a serial killer many had been calling the Grim Sleeper.
Over the years, authorities started collecting DNA samples from state prisoners and filing them in a law enforcement DNA database. Franklin’s DNA, however, did not match samples in the system.
The Los Angeles Times reported in 2014 that police urged the state to look for DNA matches that could be related to the killer, and then-California Attorney General Jerry Brown agreed to familial searches.
State computers produced a list of 200 genetic profiles of people in the database who might be related to the serial killer. One of those profiles shared a common genetic marker with the DNA found at each of the 15 crime scenes.
The resulting pattern indicated a parent-child relationship. Knowing that the Grim Sleeper had to be a man, they tested the DNA of the 200 offenders whose profiles resembled the crime-scene DNA to determine whether any appeared to share the Y chromosome, which boys inherit from their fathers.
Los Angeles police investigators got one DNA match: Franklin’s son, Christopher Franklin, who had been arrested on firearm and drug-related charges. But police still needed to confirm that Lonnie Franklin Jr. was the suspect.
An undercover officer then followed Franklin to a local pizza parlor, where he was attending a birthday party, and posed as a busboy to collect dishes Franklin had eaten from. In the end, police said, it was an uneaten pizza crust, a napkin and a drinking glass that gave him away, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Franklin was arrested in 2010 and later pleaded not guilty to the murders.
Washington, the only surviving victim, said last year she was ready for trial.