Saturday, July 17, 2010

The slim greeper

I've said over and over again, the composite sketch is a complete waste of time and often does more harm than good. Take the recently solved Grim Sleeper case in California. Lonnie Franklin Jr. was arrested after DNA from his son was linked to that of the murderer. Franklin is accused to killing dozens of prostitutes in Los Angeles. The big question in the neighborhood today is why he was never suspected by any of his neighbors as being the killer.

Asked why they weren't more concerned about Franklin's stories, Tribble and other residents said it never occurred to them he might be the killer because he looked nothing like a series of composite sketches drawn from descriptions provided after a woman survived an attack.
The sketches show a slender man with gray hair. Franklin has a more spherical head and a thin mustache.
"It didn't look like him," said resident Carmella Coleman.

After looking at the above pictures, I can't disagree. Remember the Unibomber sketch? Remember the Bike Path Killer sketch with the full head of hair (despite the fact several of his victims reported Altemio Sanchez had very thin hair in the 1980s.) Has a composite sketch ever led directly to the arrest of a suspect?

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