When Laura Moore, 21, accepted a lift from a man who pulled up to the Los Angeles bustop where she was waiting, she had no idea she was getting into the car of a serial killer. When she refused to put her seat belt on, he reached for a gun under his seat and shot her six times. Although wounded, she managed to escape, but turned back to study his face.
The man was Lonnie David Franklin Jr, better known as the Grim Sleeper serial killer. Police believe may have killed up to 25 women in South L.A. However, he has been convicted of killing nine women and a teenage girl between 1985 and 2007.
Moore, who came so close to being one of his victims, was in court this week, recounting her horrific story, as part of Franklin's sentencing.
Franklin, 63, avoided suspicion for decades, working as a city rubbish collector and one-time garage attendant for Los Angeles police. He denied any role in the killings, but didn't utter a word in his defence during his lengthy trial or address the judge at sentencing. His attorneys had suggested a mystery man was the real killer.
Judge Kathleen Kennedy concluded Franklin preyed on defenceless women because of deep-seated hatred toward them. "I can't think of anyone I've encountered in all my years in the criminal justice system that has committed the monstrous crimes that you have," she said, according to the LA Times.
Many of Franklin's victims were prostitutes and drug users, and in a documentary released in 2014, victims' families alleged that police didn't investigate the murders thoroughly because of they were black and poor.
"Imagine if they would have treated victim number three as if she was a student over at UCLA with blonde hair and blue eyes," said one woman interviewed by director Nick Broomfield. "The police don't care because they are black women," said another.
The killer earned his moniker because of the apparent hiatus from 1988 to 2002, which police once thought was due to him being imprisoned or laying low.