Here’s How A Slice Of Pizza Finally Helped Capture A Notorious Serial Killer

Pizza saving the world one serial killer at a time.

The man you’e about to see in the image below is known as the “Grim Sleeper” — a serial killer who had been terrorising neighbourhoods around Los Angeles from the mid-1980s through to 2010. His victims were all young black women.

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His near-three decades worth of terrorising give him the dubious honour of being the longest active serial killer in California history. Theories as to why he wasn’t captured sooner range from the fact the LAPD didn’t follow up leads properly (because the victims were all low-income black women) and/or, as the LAPD says, it was difficult to catch any one serial killer during all the violence that was happening in South LA at the height of the crack epidemic at the time.

Anyway, the key to eventually arresting and convicting the Grim Sleeper came down to one thing — pizza.


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The introduction of DNA testing technology in the late 2000s meant the LAPD could now search a DNA database that could link family members of convicted offenders with DNA taken from crime scenes. That’s where the pizza comes in:

On July 5, 2010, two LAPD detectives keeping tabs on Franklin saw him head into Buena Park restaurant called John’s Incredible Pizza for a kid’s birthday party, according to court documents. One of the detectives donned a restaurant uniform, posed as an employee, and collected napkins, glasses, a fork, and a partially-eaten slice of pizza from Franklin. DNA evidence from these items clinched the cops’ case, and two days later they arrested Franklin.

Suspect In Grim Sleeper Serial Killings Arraigned

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Frustratingly, pre-trial delays mean the case has dragged on an extra five years before finally going to court on February 16th. Regardless, one of California’s most prolific serial killers is sure to be locked away for a long time next week.

Clearly pizza can be as much of a foe as it is a friend (if you’re a serial killer anyway). Maybe finish the whole slice next time?

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