Candice Franklin is an ex-sex worker and a survivor of rape and attempted murder who came forward to report her attack. In doing so, she identified and help convict Michael A. Johnson Jr., a serial killer who had been at large in Chicago for years.

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Johnson raped and attempted to murder a 43-year-old woman in 2008, and has since killed four other women: Eureka Jackson, Leslie Brown, Siobhan Hampton, and Lutelda Hudson.

After Franklin’s attack (Johnson raped her and then strangled her until she passed out), she hid out in her friend’s house until she learned of Hampton’s death and ran into Johnson on the streets days later.

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The Chicago Tribune’s Steve Schmadeke reports:

Johnson followed her, she said, as she walked to her boyfriend’s house for help, but by the time she got there Johnson had disappeared. A few weeks later, though, she saw Johnson again on the street and called her boyfriend, who cornered him until police arrived.

A DNA swab taken from the inside of Johnson’s cheek proved to be the break police had been seeking. Franklin credits detectives for listening to her story.

“They actually listened to me and didn’t judge me because of my background or my lifestyle. They heard me, and they treated me like a person.”

Sex workers can be reluctant to come forward, fearing that authorities won’t take their cases seriously. But Franklin’s case demonstrates what can happen when crimes are reported to sympathetic authorities—Johnson has since been sentenced to 190 years in prison for an earlier rape, as well as Hampton’s rape and murder, and prosecutors are currently weighing whether or not to try Johnson for the three additional homicides.

In 2012, Franklin was arrested again for prostitution due to her drug addiction. She told the judge she wanted help.

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“And they helped me, instead of sending me to prison,” she said. “She sent me to treatment, and from that day on, I haven’t looked back.”

“I know that I wasn’t no better than [the victims]. It wasn’t like I had a chance to fight him off or nothing like that. And then I wasn’t the last one — he did two more after me. Why? There’s a lot of ‘why’ there. I’m not ungrateful to be alive. I just pray thanks to God every day, but still what was the difference between me and them?”

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“I figure God wasn’t ready to take me. He brought me back to help him,” she continued. “To be the mouthpiece for the other girls that didn’t make it.”

Read her full story here.


Contact the author at joanna@jezebel.com.

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Image via Shutterstock.