LOS ANGELES-It’s been a long time coming for Porter and Mary Alexander. Their daughter, Alicia “Monique” Alexander, was permanently taken away from them in 2005, the victim of a ruthless and callous murder. The sting of losing 18-year-old Alicia has not gone away. Even justice can’t make the anguish disappear.
Porter Alexander is a hurting father. Mary Alexander had gotten to the point where she openly questioned her faith and stopped going to church. That hurt and disappointment took on at least a strong moral tone after Lonnie White Jr. was found guilty on 10 murder counts for the killings of 10 black women in South Los Angeles.
Alicia Alexander was victim No. 8 during White’s killing spree.
“I’m happy to know that he was found guilty,” Mary Alexander said shortly after the verdicts were read in downtown Los Angeles. “It’s been a long, long time. It’s been many years.
“I’m not healed behind that he was the guilty one. I’ll never get to see her or hold her or enjoy any of the things I would like to, and I miss her. But I am happy to know that her death is not in vain.”
Mary Alexander said there was always something about Alicia that would welcome strangers without giving them a leery eye. Alicia believed in people, and the goodness of people.
“She’s a beautiful girl,” Mary Alexander said. “She loved everybody. Everybody was her friend. I think that was her problem. She met no stranger she loved. She just loved people, [would] give them anything.”
As a father, losing his baby daughter has been an extremely painful episode for Porter Alexander.
“It’s been very difficult, very hard,” Porter Alexander said. “You just can’t really find the words to express the things that be traveling through your mind, wondering how something like this could have happened, to lose your daughter, or if you lose any child early on as I lost my daughter.
“It is something that you will never, in your mind, think that something like this would happen. It’s just hard to express. It’s a big load that I’ve been carrying. It’s finally been lifted. But that’s all. The load that I’ve been carrying has been lifted. But when you speak of closure…there’s no closure here. It’s just a continuation of knowing that whatever years I’ve got left, I will still have to endure.”
There may be more victims of the Grim Sleeper. A lot more. The serial killings began in 1985 and stopped in 2007. The volunteer-run organization Black Coalition Fighting Back Serial Murders suspect there may be as many as 100 black women who have fallen prey to the Grim Sleeper’s killing ways. That’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Because there murders took place in a highly dense area of drugs, prostitution and other criminal activity, as many as 200 black women disappeared during the killing spree without a blink of an eye, according to an HBO documentary, “Tales of the Grim Sleeper.” That may mean additional victims.
The radius of South Los Angeles is very poorly lit at night, features a high-volume of street wanderers and homeless people and drops a heavy dose of gang activity, which gives the criminal element a commanding voice in the community. This may have given White aka the Grim Sleeper the opportunity to operate without notice.
The fact that the Los Angeles Police Department was able to piece together these cold case murders is in itself a victory for the city and for the families haunted by the ruthless passing of these women. The Grim Sleeper just met his justice. The predatory onslaught of White ran rampant in the South Los Angeles community for years with very little or no fanfare.
This is disturbing to Margaret Prescod. Prescod, the founder of the Black Coalition Fight Back Serial Murders, has been virtually a one-woman crusader for a large portion of the existence of her organization, calling attention to the issue of the many black women coming up missing in South Los Angeles without the matter getting the proper attention it deserves.
At least now some of the families have relief, she said.
“It gives respite to those families since their daughters were killed so many years ago, and then five and a half years of pretrial hearings, and the trial itself from February. Some of the family members have died. These families have been through hell and not without a lot of support,” Prescod said. “So it brings them some respite.”
Besides the obvious killings, there’s a bigger dynamic that is at play that fosters the type of element in which the Grim Sleeper thrived under, Prescod said.
“We know very well that a lot of the conditions that drove some of these victims to become victims still exist in our community, and we’re determined to address those,” said Prescod. “So, where we’re talking about one suspect and a verdict being made on one suspect…that is some respite. But we know that the conditions are still out there. The 35 women found in the photos, the 200 black women that are still missing in South LA [Los Angeles], not to mention across this nation, and there’s not a national outcry? It’s not on national news every night? So we’re getting the message that our lives don’t count…A lot of these women didn’t have to die the way they did; they didn’t have to be maligned the way they did with these kinds of racist stereotypes.”
Up until the guilty verdicts were read, the only thing Mary Alexander cared about was getting some form of justice for her daughter. She’s waited 11 years for that to happen. That day came finally. But it has been a tireless and winding road of emptiness, distraught emotions and uncertainty for Mary Alexander and her family.
She has been wracked with bad nerves since Alicia died. Her faith in God hit rock bottom with every passing day that justice did not come knocking on her door for her Alicia’s killer. It had become harder and harder for Mary Alexander to even go around to family functions. Seeing her nieces and nephews only served as a cold reminder to Mary Alexander that seeing Alicia’s beautiful smile is just a memory now.
During this long and dragged out process of justice-seeking, Mary Alexander hit her breaking point and stopped believing anything would happen. Thankfully, she had her middle son staying in her ear and encouraging her not to give up.
“There was a while where I gave up completely,” Mary Alexander said. “I prayed and prayed, and nothing happened. I quit believing in God. But I do now.”