Saturday, September 1, 2012

Alleged serial killer 'Grim Sleeper' challenging charges

Pre-trial hearings have begun for Lonnie Franklin, the man accused of being the South Los Angeles "Grim Sleeper" serial killer.  The defense attorneys reported they're hiring an independent analyst to look at ballistic evidence in the case, according to KPCC-FM.

The defendant appeared relaxed as he sat with attorneys in an orange jail jumpsuit at the high security courtroom in downtown Los Angeles.  Franklin is accused of murdering seven women between 1985 and 1988 and an additional three women between 2002 and 2007. The apparent 14-year hiatus between the murder sprees prompted the name "Grim Sleeper." Franklin was arrested in July 2010 and was accused of the murders.

Attorney Seymour Amster said defense attorneys are meticulously sifting through the evidence that'll be presented against their client in trial. Amster said DNA evidence may, at some point, also be looked at by an independent expert, but couldn't say for sure at this time.

Amster said the delays weren't a product of strategy or apathy, merely a desire to get things right.
"Do it once, do it right, do it thoroughly," Amster told KPCC-FM. "We want to save the taxpayers the issue of coming back to this after 20 years."

He also said, should a ballot intitiative that would eliminate the death penalty in California pass in November, things might change in the speed of the case.Franklin potentially faces the death penalty if convicted.

Franklin next appears in court October 24 for another pretrial hearing.

Meanwhile, police are still searching for additional victims, based on photographs and identification cards found in Franklin's home.

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