A man charged with 10 counts of murder in what was known as the ‘Grim Sleeper’ serial killing will go trial by the end of June. It was only after anguished family members of the victims told the judge of the years of delay that the wheels of justice finally started to roll.
Lonnie Franklin Jr., has pleaded not guilty on all the 10 charges. Judge Kathleen Kennedy said lawyers would meet June 29 and jury selection would begin the following day.
Family members of the hapless victims of Lonnie Franklin Jr vent their anger and angrily denounced the delay in starting the legal process. Franklin’s lawyer was at the receiving end and was blamed for the inordinate delay by the family members of the victims who in a rare hearing were able to speak under a voter-approved victims’ bill of rights.
The victim’s family was however considerate and appreciated the court’s need to balance the right of the defendant for a fair trial but many still felt helpless due to the delay.
Defense lawyer Seymour Amster however blamed the prosecution for delays. He agreed to a June trial date after prosecutors said they are willing to argue in March whether to turn in more evidence to the defense for forensic testing.
Lonnie Franklin Jr. is charged with shooting dead 8 victims and also strangling 2 of them from 1985 to 2007. Most of the crimes were committed at a time when crack cocaine was freely available in parts of Los Angeles. The gap in the slayings between 1988 and 2002 was caused by the unexpected survival of one of the victims, Enietra Washington who managed to survive her gunshot wounds. Franklin is charged with attempted murder in that case. Police arrested Franklin in July 2010 after his DNA was connected to more than a dozen crime scenes.