Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Lonnie David Franklin Jr: The Grim Sleeper

The sole survivor

Enietra Margette
Enietra Margette

The cops had a break in the case on November 20, 1988, when Enietra Margette (a pseudonym given to the media) had an encounter with the killer. Like the others, she was walking to the store, on her way to a party, when she came across a well-dressed man driving an orange Pinto with white racing stripes which made it look much like a toy car. She told America's Most Wanted and LA Weekly that he had asked her if she wanted a ride; she initially rebuffed him in a playful back and forth, before he persuaded her to enter the car. Once inside, LA Weekly reported, Margette was impressed. The car was well taken care, the man was clean cut, if not exactly her type, and she invited him along to the party she was going to. He stopped at the house he claimed to be his uncle's, and got out a few minutes. Returning, though, his mood had changed: "He asked me, 'Why did you dog me out?'" When she protested, he pulled a gun and fired.

He had shot her, and, though she noticed the blood, she didn't panic—yet. She blacked out and when she woke up, a Polaroid camera was flashing in her face and the man was on top of her, raping her. She pleaded with him to take her to the hospital; he refused, saying that he couldn't get caught, and pushed her out of the car while it was still in motion.

According the LA Weekly interview, Margette made her way back to the friend's house and waited for them to come back from the party; she was taken to the emergency room, and managed to survive. In 2008, she began to give interviews to the press, first under the cover of the dark, then showing her face, using a fake name.

Margette told Newsweek that her assailant had called her by the name of a very well known neighborhood prostitute, for whom she'd been mistaken just a week before.

"I turned around and said, 'What did you say?' and as soon as I turned to face him, that's when he shot me ... I said, 'Why did you shoot me?' He said, 'You dogged [insulted] me.' I told him, 'You don't know me. You've got the wrong person.' "

This, in tandem with the "AIDS" message on the napkin over Jefferson's face seemed to indicate a person who was spiteful of prostitutes or prostitution in general. The bullet extracted from her wound was matched to those of prior victims of the "strawberry killings."

Perhaps spooked by the close encounter, this was the last known attempt by the killer for many years: Eight victims over three years. And then, just like that, the assailant disappeared. People were still being murdered and dumped in alleys in South Central, of course. But, police would come to determine, none of the subsequent murders could be connected to the initial eight murders for 14 years.

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