A story for every victim

Gail Ficklin, 24

Gail Ficklin, a 24-year-old black woman, was found strangled to death in an alley in the 9800 block of Grandee Avenue in Willowbrook on Aug. 15, 1985.

Her body was found in the same block as an earlier victim, Sheila Burton, believed by authorities to be among the first prostitutes slain by a serial killer active in South L.A.

In 1989, Louis Craine, then a 32-year-old unemployed construction worker, was convicted of the first-degree murder of Ficklin and three other women. He was acquitted in the Burton case. Superior Court Judge Janice Claire Croft sentenced Craine to death for the killings.

His defense attorneys had portrayed him as an illiterate man with a fourth-grade education and an IQ of 69.

Two of the four killings he was convicted of had earlier been attributed to a serial killer dubbed the Southside Slayer. Authorities later said the others were the victims of at least two killers.

Craine died in a prison hospital of an undisclosed ailment just months after his conviction.

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