Monday, February 29, 2016

Lonnie Franklin Trial Update & Notes From Sprocket

February 29, 2016
Over a week ago, I came down down with a bad case of the flu. Ten days later, I'm still battling with debilitating congestion in my lungs. I've been left with a chronic, deep cough that is not compatible to sitting in a courtroom while testimony is being presented.

Lonnie Franklin, Jr. Trial

The only other reporter I know that has been at the trial every day is LA Times reporter Stephen Ceasar, who has produced several stories already covering the trial.

During the past week, several criminalists, DNA analysts and at least one detective testified. On Monday February 22, I know that Dr. Lynne Herold completed her testimony about the evidence she collected from victim Bernita Sparks.

On Tuesday, February 23, Stephen Ceasar of the LA Times reported that Supria Rosner, a criminalist with the LAPD testified that DNA found on victims Barbara Ware and Bernita Sparks matched the defendant. Additionally, Cristina Gonzalez, a criminalist with the LA County Sheriff's Department, also testified that DNA evidence recovered from the body of fifteen-year-old victim Princess Berthomieux matched the defendant.

On Wednesday, February 24, the LA Times reported that criminalist Gonzalez continued her testimony to the jury, stating that DNA recovered from the body of victim Lachrica Jefferson matched the defendant. Additionally, LAPD Detective Donald Hrycyk took the stand to recount responding to an alleyway crime scene on August 12, 1986. The victim was later identified as Henrietta Wright.

According to the LA Times article:
About a year later, he began investigating the death of Bernita Sparks, whose body was found in a trash bin in the 9400 block of South Western Avenue.
He noticed similarities between the two victims, he told the court. Both were young African American women who were shot in the chest and apparently dumped in or near South Los Angeles alleys, he said. Neither was found with identification, and both seemed to be intentionally hidden.
 There may be some T&T readers who recognize Detective Hrycyk's name. Hrycyk was Stephanie Lazarus's senior partner in the LAPD's Art Theft Detail unit when she was arrested for murdering Sherri Rae Rasmussen.

Thursday, February 25, Hrycyk continued his testimony. Then the sole surviving victim of alleged serial killer Franklin took the stand to testify. KFI's Eric Leonard reported:
A woman who survived an encounter with the serial killer known as the Grim Sleeper said Thursday she heard and felt nothing when she was shot.
“Everything just went eerily quiet,” Enietra Washington told jurors. 
“Then I saw the blood on my shirt and I thought, he did shoot me,” and said she remembered trying to figure out how to get away.
“When I got ready to reach for the door, he said don’t touch that door bitch or I’ll shoot you again,” she said.
Washington said she was in and out of consciousness after she was shot once in the chest in the front seat of a customized orange Ford Pinto in South L.A. in 1988. 
Below are the reports from several other media outlets that covered Enietra Washington's testimony.

February 25, 2016 LA Times article
February 26, 2015 Washington Post article
February 26, 2016. People Magazine
February 26, 2016 Inquisitor
February 25, 2016 ABC 7
February 26, 2016. KFI's Eric Leonard

T&T readers, I am trying to get well as fast as I can so I can return to court. I'm hopeful I'll get a handle on this cough this week and can return to cover the trial before the end of the prosecution's case-in-chief. That's my goal.

A Sprocket Note
While I'm recovering, I've been watching Mrs. Ficus, a female Allen's hummingbird who built a nest in my potted ficus tree on my back patio. Hummingbirds are amazing creatures that live on the edge of life's existence. The average hummingbird weighs less than a dime.

Four years ago in 2012, a hummingbird built a nest in the same trees, right before the start of the Lazarus trial. An Anna's hummingbird built a nest in the trees in 2013 and now after a several year hiatus, an Allen's has returned to nest again.  Hummingbird nests are tiny. They measure about 1.5 inches by two inches. They are built from plant materials, lichen, dandelion fluff (special, raw cotton that I put out for them) and held together with spider webbing.

I can see her nest from my bedroom patio doors. I discovered her nest on February 6, and watched her put the finishing touches on it.  Can you see the nest in the photo below? It's up high, directly over the edge of the left window.

On February 10, Mrs. Ficus laid her first egg. The eggs are less than 1/2 inch long.

Hummingbird hens will rest one or two days before laying their second egg. Mrs. Ficus laid her second egg on February 12 and egg sitting begins. Hummingbird incubation can take anywhere from 15 to 18 days, depending on temperature and conditions.

February 24, 2016, Mrs. Ficus on her nest.

February 28, I climbed a ladder and checked the nest. One of the eggs had hatched, probably the day before. The other egg looked strange.  It looked like it was cracked on the bottom, but it wasn't moving.

I couldn't see inside the nest very well so I got down off the ladder and got a flashlight. When I came back, the second egg, the nestling was shaking his head back and forth until the eggshell came off his head. That's him, that little black dash just to the right of the broken eggshell.

I put on one of Mr. Sprocket's headlamps and finally got a good light on the nest. The older nestling, Leaf, is on the left. Twig, who just hatched, is on the right.

From hatching, hummingbirds will take about 21 to 25 days to fully fledge and leave the nest.

I hope you enjoyed the hummingbird photo essay. Below are links to two live webcams on hummingbird nests.


gabriele gray said...

I come to your site every day and while I don't want to inflict my religion on you, I do want to say that I pray for you, your heath, and for your husband who no doubt has his own worries with your illness.
There is a contributor to LA Observed who recently moved to the desert area and was very pleased to find a hummingbird nest outside, and then to discover the eggs had hatched. Here's a link so you can 'meet' another hummingbird friend and know that sometimes it's the little (or littlest) things which give us companionship, comfort and rest.

I am sorry not to have your insight and experience to inform my understanding of the current case but without your personal attachment to the truth and to the human costs I can't bring myself to read about the trial.

and, again, I don't mean to intrude and I know you've lots of knowledge about how to care for yourself but I had a persistent cough that did not respond to any medication. It turned out I had been rear-ended and had a minor whiplash injury which did not manifest itself until months later. It was a problem with the 5th/6th cervical vertebrae which affects the throat (I also had laryngitis). I had not been to a chiropractor before but one visit resolved the issue although it took subsequent visits to help the spine stay aligned (he was a good caring person and waited until I chose to come for an adjustment. I occasionally have the problem still (since 1977) but have found another person I trust.

I am not trying to tell you what you should do, only offering my own experience because I know how limiting compulsive coughing can be.
Whatever the reasons I hope you find relief and resolution and in the meantime I'm glad you have feathered friends to remind you of better things.

Sprocket said...

Gabriel Gray:

Thank you very much for your kind words and concern about my health, and sharing your own health struggles. I know how difficult it can be to finally find an answer as to what is happening.

I'm over my flu. It turned into persistent inflamed sinuses that are causing a post-nasal drip (PND) that nothing seems to completely fix. The PND in turn, causes me to occasionally cough. Sometimes the coughing goes on for a few minutes. Sometimes I can go for a half day or more without coughing. Other than being a bit run down, I'm fine. Last week I did some heavy gardening and shoveling out a dirt pile. Being outside and working in the garden really seems to help.

But with a cough, it presents challenges for trial reporting. I cannot cough in a courtroom when there is testimony being presented. It's that simple. I do not want to be told to leave the courtroom because I'm causing a disruption for the judge or the court reporter transcribing testimony. That would not be good for my reputation with the court.

I'm very disappointed that I have missed so much testimony of this landmark case, but there's not much I can do about it at this point.

I am following a path of taking anti-inflammatories and supporting my immune system to kick this on it's own so I an return to court.

Again, thank you for leaving your comment.

David In TN said...

From my own experience with injuries and serious health issues the last few years, the human body will correct itself in time if at all possible. In my case it did.

Best wishes and hope you are back soon.