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Suspected 'Grim Sleeper' Serial Killer Could Have Been Caught Before Final Known Murder

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Lonnie David Franklin Jr. appears with his attorney Regina A. Laughney for arraignment on multiple charges as the alleged "Grim Sleeper" killer | AP Photo/Al Seib

Suspected serial killer Lonnie Franklin was supposed to be swabbed for DNA while he was on probation for a felony, but it never happened. If it did, the alleged "Grim Sleeper" may have been caught, sparing at least one woman her life, finds the LA Times.

In 2004 Proposition 69 went into affect, meaning anyone convicted of a felony and those on probation for a felony crime had to be swabbed for DNA and added to the state's database. Franklin at the time was on probation, but by the time the L.A. County County Probation Department was finally ready to collect DNA, a judge had already changed Franklin's status to be no longer under supervision of a probation officer.

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"Guidelines published by the California attorney general’s office in March 2005 said probation departments were to collect samples from offenders then under their supervision," noted the Times. The final known victim of the "Grim Sleeper" was found dead on New Year's Day in 2007.

If Franklin was swabbed, there stood a good chance he would have been arrested as his DNA had already been linked to previous murders. Once DNA is collected, the state compares it to unsolved cases weekly, yielding 300 to 400 matches a month.

Franklin was arrested last week and charged with killing ten women in a period that lasted over 20 years. Police believe there could be some 30 more cases linked to him. He's been arrested at least 15 times in the past 40 years.