LAPD releases photos of potential Grim Sleeper victims

This comes from the Robbery/Homicide Division of the Los Angeles Police Department.

Officials believe that the suspected Grim Sleeper may be responsible for several murders that have yet to be attributed to suspect Lonnie David Franklin.

On Thursday officials released several images of woman confiscated from Franklin’s South Los Angeles home.

The images are available on the LAPD website at www.lapdonline.org.

LAPD press release on the jump:

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TV audition ends in death of wife and arrest of husband

“America’s Got Talent” audition, ecstasy, speed, a missing woman and the arrest of a rock musician. This story has some interesting twists:

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Los Angeles police said Tuesday the wife of a man vying for a spot on “America’s Got Talent” was found dead in the stairwell of an upscale hotel where the T.V. show was holding auditions.

Covina native Laura Finley, 48, was discovered about 8:30 a.m. Saturday morning by a guest of the Millennium Biltmore Hotel.

Police said her death appeared to be accidental, but they are looking into “other possibilities” as a precaution, Los Angeles Police Lt. Paul Vernon said.

The coroner’s office is waiting for the results of toxicology tests before determining Laura Finley’s cause of death, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Lt. Fred Corral said.

Laura Finley grew up in Covina and married her high school sweet heart, Joe Finley, four years after graduating from Northview High School in 1980, said Laura Finley’s sister, Jill Sutterlin.

“My sister loved her husband more than she loved her children and herself,” Sutterlin said. “She was his number one fan.”

Joe Finley called hotel security and reported his wife missing after he got out of bed Saturday, Vernon said.

The 47-year-old rock musician then attended an audition for the NBC reality T.V. show, Vernon said. Police later notified him about the death of his wife.

Joe Finley was arrested early Sunday on suspicion of drug possession, Vernon said.

During an interview with detectives, Joe Finley said he and his wife had consumed ecstasy before her death, Vernon said.

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LAPD releases photo of Grim Sleeper

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With all his appearances at award shows, trips with his reporter girlfriend and official appearances at big games, it’s hard to know how Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa fit an appearance at LAPD HQ into his schedule today, but he did. Here’s the latest AP story on the capture of a suspect in the Grim Sleeper serial killer case:

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa says the arrest of a suspect in the so-called “Grim Sleeper” serial killings ends 25 years of “terror” in the city.

The mayor told a press conference Thursday that he wished to thank a special team of detectives that worked on the case full time.

Fifty-seven-year-old Lonnie Franklin Jr. was charged Wednesday with 10 counts of murder, one count of attempted murder and special circumstance allegations of multiple murders that could make him eligible for the death penalty if convicted.

The killings in South Los Angeles ranged from 1985 until 2007.

Police Chief Charlie Beck says the detective team made its investigation the largest current case in his department.

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Former LAPD Chief Gates “Seriously ill”

This from KTTV, the local Fox affiliate:

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Los Angeles – Police say former Los Angeles police Chief Daryl Gates, who resigned in the wake of the Rodney King beating, is seriously ill.

Current Chief Charlie Beck told the city Police Commission on Tuesday that the 83-year-old former chief has a serious malady and that he visited Gates in the hospital over the weekend. But he provided no details.

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Three LAPD officers charged with perjury

From the DA’s office:

LOS ANGELES – Three Los Angeles Police Department officers who allegedly lied under oath about during a drug possession trial last year were charged today with conspiracy and perjury.

Deputy District Attorney Sean Hassett with the Justice System Integrity Division said former LAPD Officer Evan Samuel, and Officers Richard Amio and Manuel Ortiz are scheduled to surrender on Thursday for arraignment.

Hassett filed a felony complaint for arrest warrant on Monday charging 37-year-old Samuel, 30-year-old Amio, and 36-year-old Ortiz with one count each of conspiracy. In addition, Samuel is charged with three counts of perjury. Amio is charged with two counts of perjury and Ortiz is charged with one count of perjury. All are felonies.

During a preliminary hearing and later during the June 2008 trial for Guillermo Alarcon, the three allegedly falsely testified about seeing the defendant Alarcon throw away a black object near a trash bin that turned out to be cocaine base. Ortiz allegedly denied under oath that he was in fact the officer who found a package containing cocaine powder near a dumpster while the other officers were searching a laundry room for drugs.

Samuel and Amio also signed under penalty of perjury a police report that was allegedly false.

Alarcon’s drug possession case was dismissed in June 2008 at the request of prosecutors after footage from the apartment building’s security camera contradicted the sworn testimony of the officers.

All three are scheduled for arraignment after 1:30 p.m. on Thursday at the Criminal Justice Center, Department 30. Hassett is asking that bail be set at $120,000 for Samuel, $70,000 for Amio and $45,000 for Ortiz.

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Just the facts — Dragnet stamp with Sgt. Joe Friday on sale


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A stamp commemorating the 1950s TV show “Dragnet,” which dramatized the Los Angeles Police Department, will be issued Tuesday during a ceremony at the LAPD Academy in Elysian Park.

The stamp is one of 20 that commemorates early TV shows and the only stamp to pay tribute to law enforcement, according to the U.S. Postal Service. The stamps go on sale at noon.

Opal Webb, surviving spouse of “Dragnet” creator Jack Webb, who played Sgt. Joe Friday, will be at the ceremony, along with Harry Morgan, who played Officer Bill Gannon in the 1960s TV revival of the show. One of the show’s narrators, John Stephenson, is also to be at the ceremony, along with LAPD Chief William Bratton and Councilman Tom LaBonge.

At the event, people will be able to purchase an exclusive LAPD 140th anniversary postmark, complete with a commemorative envelope and a special “Badge 714″ photo stamp, designed and offered through the LAPD Historical Society.

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Bratton out at LAPD

There’s a lot of speculation in the news room this morning about Chief Bill Bratton’s sudden announcement.  Is something up? Or is it just time to go?

This from the wires:

Chief William Bratton, credited with guiding the LAPD out of a federal consent decree and pushing crime in the city to historic lows, is expected to announce today that he is stepping down midway through his second five-year term.

Quoting unidentified sources, the Los Angeles Times said on its Web site that Bratton will announce at a noon press conference that he is leaving to take over as head of a private security firm.

Bratton was hired by then-Mayor James Hahn in 2002, and his contract was renewed in 2007 by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

“I have said all along that Bill Bratton is the finest police chief in the United States of America,” Villaraigosa said after renewing Bratton’s contract..

At the time, Bratton insisted he would remain on the job for the entire five-year term. His first term was marked by repeated rumors that he would be leaving before he completed five years.

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Steven Parent: El Monte teen, Manson family victim

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Friday morning August 8, 1969.

The sun is fully visible at 6:10 a.m.

At 7:50 a.m. Steven Earl Parent, 18, leaves his parents’ El Monte home on Bryant Road for work at Valley City Plumbing in Rosemead.

A recent graduate of Arroyo High School, Parent works two jobs. He plans on attending Citrus College in the fall semester.

Parent’s co-workers say he is “clean-cut” and “intelligent.” “A good worker.”

He splits work at 5:15 p.m. and heads to the second job, at Jonas Miller Stereo on Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills.

At 7:48 p.m. sunset envelopes Southern California.

Sometime after 11 p.m., Parent gets off work. He’s driving his dad’s 1966 AMC Rambler.

Parent heads up Beverly to Sunset, then jogs north again on Benedict Canyon Road.

A waning crescent moon barely lights the night sky. Oleanders and scrub oak line the unlit road. He turns again on Cielo Drive.

At 11:45 p.m., Parent demonstrates an AM/FM Sony Digimatic clock radio. He hopes to sell it to Bill Garretson, his 19-year-old friend.

The two met several weeks earlier, when Parent picked up Garretson hitchhiking and drove him home.

Garretson lives in the back house at the estate on Cielo Drive. He takes care of the owner’s dogs.

Garretson declines to buy the radio. Parent drinks a can of beer. He calls a friend.

It’s now Saturday morning August 9 – 12:15 a.m. Parent leaves.

In the dark, he walks back to his dad’s white Rambler. He starts his car and heads toward the gate.

He rolls down the window to use a push button gate opener.

A figure approaches.

“Halt,” a man calls out. The man’s got a buck knife in one hand and a .22 in the other.

Parent pleads with the man, “Please don’t hurt me. I won’t tell anyone.”

The man slashes at Parent with the knife, slicing the teen’s wrist. Then, he opens fire with the revolver. Shots strike the El Monte teen in the head and chest. By 12:30 a.m. Parent is dead.

He would become the first victim in a two-night killing frenzy led by Charles Manson and carried out by members of his LSD-crazed “family.”

Within minutes, Parent’s murderer, Charles “Tex” Watson, and three women would enter the main house at Cielo Drive and kill actress Sharon Tate, coffee heiress Abigail Folger, film producer Wojciech Frykowski and hair dresser Jay Sebring.

In hopes of inciting a race war that Manson called “Helter Skelter,” the killers struck the next night at the Los Feliz home of and Leno and Rosemary LaBianca.

Parent’s body was discovered about 24 hours after he left his parent’s El Monte home for work. His mom and dad were disturbed that LAPD officials didn’t notify them of their son’s death for several hours.

His dad wondered what Steven was up to.

“I just can’t understand what he was doing up there in the first place,” Wilfred Parent said. “Hell, Steve wasn’t a poshy kind of kid. I didn’t even know he knew any of those people.”

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LAPD SWAT team rescues hostage near Wineville

The LAPD and Riverside County Sheriff’s Department Monday night rescued a man who had been kidnapped earlier in Van Nuys. Here’s the top of our story:

EASTVALE – A SWAT team from Los Angeles Police Department rescued a kidnapped man from a house full of narcotics in this unincorporated community in western Riverside County.

The kidnap victim, according to the LAPD spokesman, was apparently taken from the area of Van Nuys on Wednesday. No further details were given about the identity of the man or why he was kidnapped.

Police said he was injured but apparently not as a result of the rescue.

The police SWAT team surrounded the residence in the 6900 block of Delaware River Road.

In cooperation with Riverside County sheriff’s deputies, they stormed the house about 6:30 p.m., according to witnesses.

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