With a tentative trial date less than three months away for the alleged serial killer dubbed "The Grim Sleeper," attorneys in the case said they were scrambling to assemble mounds of evidence in 10 murder cases.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Kathleen Kennedy has expressed frustration with the pace of the defense's review of DNA and ballistics evidence, while defense attorney Seymour Amster insisted his team was moving as quickly as it could to review hundreds of pieces of evidence collected from multiple crime scenes.
Family and friends of the victims sat in court through today's proceedings. It was just one of the many hearings they have attended in the four years since Lonnie Franklin Jr., a former city employee, was arrested in July 2010. It has been almost three decades since the earliest killing, of 29-year-old Debra Jackson in 1985.
Prosecutors announced in August 2011 that they intended to seek the death penalty for Franklin, who is charged with killing 10 women, many of them prostitutes, and dumping their remains in alleys and trash bins in and around South Los Angeles, Inglewood and unincorporated county areas. Some were raped before being shot to death with a small-caliber handgun.
The charges involve killings between 1985 and 1988, and 2002 and 2007, with the assailant being dubbed the "Grim Sleeper" because of the apparent 13- year break between killing sprees. Detectives have said since his arrest that they were also investigating whether he might be connected to the disappearance or deaths of eight other women whose photos were found in his home near 81st Street and Harvard Boulevard.
Franklin is due back at the downtown Los Angeles courthouse May 7 for another pretrial hearing. Trial is tentatively set for July 15.
—City News Service