Sunday, May 22, 2016

Lonnie Franklin, Jr., "Grim Sleeper," Penalty Phase, Day 5

 Lonnie Franklin, Jr.,  verdict 5/5/16
(Barbara Davidson/Los Angeles Times via AP, Pool)

Note: This post is not completely edited for spelling, grammar. Sprocket
Previous post can be found HERE
T&T Case coverage and Media Links HERE

Wednesday, May 18, 2016
 It doesn't start out to be a good day for me. I get out the door late. When I get to court I realize that I forgot my laptop and my lunch. My lack of sleep in trying to get my notes up daily is really taking a toll on me. It's not as if I can't take hand notes, it's that I don't get as much detail when I have to write, verses type. And my hand notes are often more difficult to

I'm on the 9th floor before 9:00 am. Inside Dept. 109, hardly anyone anyone is here. DDA Marguerite Rizzo and DDA Paul Pzrelomiec enter and start to set up. DDA Pzrelomiec is over at the clerk's desk, exchanging out the exhibits that had the wrong date with new, correct ones. 

9:10 AM
Defense attorney Dale Atherton is here. Seymour Amster is not here. 
Mary and Donnell Alexander arrive. About five minutes later, more family arrive. DDA Beth Silverman arrives and greets the family members. I believe she asks Mary where Porter is today. The Alexander family has been coming to the hearings for six years now.

The family of victim Debra Jackson arrives. DDA Silverman comforts the family and tells them who will be going up first. Debra's son, Jermaine has worn camouflage jacket, pants and cap to court. I believe DDA Rizzo comes over to speak to him about needing to change his clothes.  He sounds upset but I believe his sister convinces him to go to the hotel and change his clothes.

9:25 AM 
Franklin is brought out. A minute later Judge Kennedy takes the bench and asks counsel if they are ready for the jury.


DDA Rizzo presents the witness.

Do you know someone named Debra Jackson
Yes. I do.
Who is she?
She's my mother.
How old were you at the time of her death?
Did you live in Los Angeles?
With your brother and sister?

Anyata starts to cry. She was the baby of the family. At the time of her mother's murder, she and her brother lived in Los Angeles.  But they were not living with their mother. They were in foster care. At the time of her mother's death, she was set to be reunited with her mother. She saw her mother on weekends and spoke to her every day.

Her mother had struggles. She was trying to finish school and find a place to live. She did not get to see her right before her death. She was to be reunited the next week. She knew something was wrong when she didn't speak to her mother. Her brother told her about her mother's murder. He came over to the foster home [with a social worker?]. He sat her down and said, "Look at me." He told her, her mother was dead.

How old were you?
I was 9.

She didn't know the details of her mother's death. To this day she doesn't want to look [at it]. She doesn't want to deal with it. 

After her death, what happened?
Our grandmother came. ... She came out immediately.

Her grandmother brought her and and her brother back to Mass. They had to wait for their older sister.

How was it to live in Mass?
I felt safe after that. [Our whole family], we were close.
What was important [to you to come here?]
Mother was my world. That was Mommy.

She saw her mother every weekend and spoke to her every day. 

How excited were you to be reunited with her?
I was very excited. She was family. That was like home. ... Family has always been close.

She now lives in Mass. It's been 30 years, she's been waiting for this to happen. She has her own children. She has a 21 year old and a 12 year old. 
I don't talk to them about her mother. They know the details. They do research and come tell me. I don't have to tell them. They know. 

Exhibit 463, the photo of her mother is up on the ELMO.

That's in my house. 
Over the fireplace?
It hasn't moved. It's right there.
So you see your mom and talk to her every day? 
Before you went to Mass., was there a funeral for your mom?
Did you attend the funeral?
What was that like?
Scary. ... Because I didn't see no body. It was a closed casket. For the longest time I didn't want to believe it ... closed casket.

She has one daughter that just graduated from college she's very proud of her. This is the first time she's been here in California since she was 9. She doesn't know where her mother is buries. Her relatives did what ever they could to get her buried in the ground.  The photo of her mother, she doesn't even know when the photo of Debra was taken.  Her mother's birthday is March 2. She would have been 60 years old.

Anyata never really liked birthdays or holidays [ possibly because she didn't have her mother], until she had her own children. Her oldest child is her baby. She makes the birthday celebrations happen.

What was it you remember most about your mother?
How she love me. Her kisses. She'd hold me. The hugs.

If [you knew] the last conversation you would have with her, what would you tell her?
I love her. 

DDA Rizzo presents the witness.
Who is Debra Jackson?
My grandmother.

She is 21 years old and lives in Mass. She never had the opportunity to meet her grandmother. 

[She] came all the way from Mass. to testify. Why is that?
It's important to my family. It's important [to my mother].

She got to know her grandmother through her uncles, aunts and her mother. Her great grandmother played both roles of grandmother and great grandmother. She first learned about what happened to Debra when she was very young. She just called her grandma, not Debbie. She doesn't recall when she first learned. At some point she learned her grandmother had been killed in California. She is asked about how her mother was, talking about Debra.

She was always emotional. It was a touchy subject. It was just a very touchy subject. She would have nightmares. Unless she brought it up, we wouldn't talk about it. 

Your mom would have nightmares?
She would cry herself to  sleep. She was very emotional.
That photo in the living room ...
It was in the living room since I was a kid.
So a constant reminder of your grandma is gone?

All her family attended her graduation, but she felt her grandmother was missing.

Your mom said you were the one that makes all the celebrations?
We are her [Anyata] world. 

She knows how much her grandmother meant to her mother, and she tries to make her mother happy. The holidays are mostly a private thing. 

I had to encourage my mom and uncle to come. ... Because like my aunt says, new beginnings.
Were they reluctant?
Not reluctant, just hard. ... When you lose any parent it's hard.  The closure.

No cross examination. In the gallery, the women in the family comfort each other. 


DDA Silverman presents the witness.

Dr. Ortiz is employed as an Los Angeles County deputy coroner for 26 years. He finished medical school in 1984 and trained in pathology in Puerto Rico. He's performed approximately 5,600 autopsies. About half of those were unnatural deaths. He's testified as an expert 150 times in County court and 3 times in Federal court.

December 29, 2000, he conducted the autopsy on Georgia Thomas. He prepared a report. Autopsy photos of Georgia are presented. He points out two gunshot wounds to the upper left chest. 

The first bullet he documented had no soot or stippling. It was from left to right front to back and downwards.  After the bullet fractured a rib, it ended up in the left back. It was a copper jacketed lead bullet. The second gunshot wound was lower and more centered. There was no sooting or stippling. The second bullet traveled from left to right, front to back and downward. It fractured a rib, perforated the heart and many vessels of the heart. The bullets were similar. Both gunshot wounds followed the same path. 

DDA Silverman presents a hypothetical to Dr. Ortiz. The victim seated in the front passenger seat of a vehicle and if her killer shot her from her left side, would that be consistent with her injuries?
"Yes mam. In my opinion," he replies. "Were both gunshot wounds fatal?" she asks. "Yes mam."

He examined her clothing. He observed a blue long john type top and a white bra with a blood stain on the side.. The thermal top holes are consistent with location of the gunshot wounds. The tox screen found alcohol, cocaine and metabolite of cocaine.  Her cause of death was massive blood loss. Manner of death was gunshot wound homicide.

Detective McKnight was present during the autopsy. 

Dr. Ortiz is asked to open envelopes. He introduces the bullets he recovered from Debra's body. 

During Dr. Ortiz's testimony, Debra Jackson's son, Jermaine Jackson, returns to the gallery dressed in a nice suit. He sits beside his sister.

The second projectile flattened at the base a bit. Once he removed the evidence for the body then had the items booked into evidence. 

Cross Examination
Dale Atherton performs the cross examination. Amster has not been in court all morning. 

Atherton must have been impressed by Dr. Ortiz's step by step description of what he was doing when handling the forensics evidence because he first asks the witness, "Would you come to my house and teach my son how to follow instructions?" "I'd be happy to," the witness answers. Theres a bit of laughter in the courtroom after Atherton's question.

Atherton asks Dr. Ortiz to explain how cocaine is broken down in the body to metabolites of cocaine.

In examining the clothing Dr. Ortiz states there wasn't a brown leather jacket or pants. He's asked if he knows if the items are still in the coroner's evidence. Dr. Ortiz believes they were released to the police agency. There are questions about the sexual assault kit and how it's collected. Dr. Ortiz doesn't know what happened to the sexual assault kit. 

There's no redirect. Witness is excused. The people ask to take the morning break. 

10:35 AM
We're back on the record. DDA Rizzo presents the witness.


Who is Debra Jackson?
My mother.
How old were you [when she died]?
Were you living with your mom at the time?
Had you just got reunited?
Before that, were you living with a foster mom?
How long were you with her before she was murdered?
Twenty-four hours. 

When he was with the foster family, he kept in contact with his mother. He saw her on weekends and spoke to her twice a week. He called her, because she was his mother.

Is there a significance to your name?
My mother's maiden name is Jackson and she loved the Jackson 5. She named him after Jermaine Jackson. Jermaine Jackson was her favorite. 

He remembers his mother singing and dancing to their music. 

How did you find out about your mother's death?
My mother's girlfriend told me.

She left him at her girlfriend's house. When she was gone a couple of days and didn't come back, her girl friend made a police report. She didn't go into work.  They made calls to friends, trying to find out where she was. The last time he saw her was in the morning. 
How were you during those three days?
I was sad. Sickly. Scared. My mother had never disappeared like that.  Her friend made a missing person's report The police told her, [the girl friend] right then and there. Then she came back home and told him. She said, "Your mother is deceased."  She told him that his mother was murdered and left in an alley.

I cried my eyes out. I called my sister and then went to her foster home. His sister was waiting. ... My mother was planning to go pick up Anyata, but she never got the chance. We were going to go bak home to Mass. the following week. 
What was that like, telling your sister?
It was the most horrible think I had to do.

They traveled back east. They went to the funeral.

[What was the funeral like?]
It was terrible.
You remember that day?
Can you tell us about it?
No one wants ... 

Jermaine voice starts to break. It's full of pain.

... to go through that. ... Especially a closed coffin.
How did you deal with the death of your mom?
My grandmother, my aunt. I was a wreck. If I didn't have my aunt and grandmother, ... they helped me to get it together. I gave up on life. I didn't want to live anymore. 

He had struggles in his own life. The thinks it's because he didn't have his mother. He has his own children. He tries to tell them about her, to the best of his ability. He's shown the photo of his mother. 
He doesn't live in Mass. He lives in Rhode Island. He goes to visit his family often. He talks to his mother through the photo in his sister's house. He thinks of his mom every day. He misses her laughter, her hugging him, talking to him. He thinks of her all the time, especially on holidays and birthdays. 

If there was one thing you could say to your mom, what would it be?
I love you and I miss her. 

No cross examination.

When he returns to the gallery, his family comforts him. Counsel has a sidebar with the court.

10:55 AM

DDA Silverman presents the witness


LAPD Homicide Detective with the Robbery Homicide Cold Case Unit. He's been with the LAPD for almost 30 years.  He was assigned to the task force that investigated this case with Detective Dupree. He was a former partner of Dupree.

Rolenia Morris. 

He was made aware that her ID and photos were found in the search of the defendant's home.

A relative of Rolenia filed a missing person's report after she disappeared in September 2005.  He interviewed that relative and Detective Merrill, who took the missing person report.

Detective McCoy obtained the missing person file. He also conducted his own investigation. He interviewed both of Rolenia's sisters. DDA Silverman asks, "Did that include her sister LaTanya Clark?" "Yes," he replies.

Detective McCoy spoke to Rolenia's father, children and her cousins. He contacted other family and friends who live in the Las Vegas area.

He made contact with [service?] agencies to see if there was any contact with Rolenia.

He made contact with the DMV. She did not renew her driver's license.

He made contact with the coroner's office and the Department of Justice. He contacted mental hospitals, women's shelters, the LA County Sheriff's, the State prison system and the Bureau of Federal prisons. 

He contacted the National Center for missing persons and ensured that her information was entered into their system. 

He contacted airlines to see if she flew anywhere. He contacted all national law enforcement data bases for any signs of life. He also contacted a California list of unidentified persons. Detective McCoy explains what this data base is. It's information stored in the database about those people, their information and biography background.

He also contacted NAMIS. It's the same thing as the prior system but national, across the US. He looked for persons in that system that fit this case descriptors and he put Rolenia's information into that system.

He also submitted Rolenia's information into the Justice Department's website. It's a network system available to law enforcement. 

He verified that Rolenia had no contact with any law enforcement agency. He checked input her data into the LAPD's own missing person's website.

In January 2011, he collected a bucccal swab from Latanya Clark, Rolenia's sister. He did that, just in case some date in the future a body was found and the DNA could be compared for a familal DNA match. He also sent Ms. Clark's DNA to the Department of Justice for a potential familial DNA match.

Have you found any sign, any activity that Rolenia is still alive?
No I haven't.

He checked out items from property control to upload those images to various data bases. He is shown a flyer with Rolenia's photo on it. The photo is Rolenia's DMV photo. He also posted that flyer on various websites.

Detective McCoy is next shown a series of photos that were recovered from the defendant's residence. Two are of Rolenia posed, one with her breast exposed and one not. Detective McCoy inventories for the record the photos that came from this particular evidence envelope.

Cross examination is by Dale Atherton.

He's asked if he would have to contact each County's coroner. Detective McCoy states that if he had to do it, he would.  He did not call the coroner's in Utah, Colorado, Oregon, Arkansas. 

Atherton reviews with the witness what he did with the DNA collected from Ms. Clark. He sent it to the California and National databases, the Department of Justice and the national database itself. That would be for a familial match.

He started his investigation in July 2010.

Cross ends and redirect begins.

In terms of not going from state to state, that was the purpose of going to the national data bases?

The DNA was not for a "match" but for a familial DNA link.

What date did you send Ms. Clark's DNA to the national databases?
The later part of 2011.

This witness is finished and the next witness is called. DDA Rizzo presents the witness.


Garcia previously testified [in the guilt phase] as a LAPD criminalist in firearms. He participated in the search warrant. 

On July 8, 2010, he searched the northwest bedroom of the defendant's residence. He also searched the closet of that bedroom. Photos are presented as to how the closet looked before he searched it as well as after he started removing items. Now photos of evidence placards placed next to items to be collected.

In the closet he discovered a shotgun. Photos of the item are introduced. It was a style of shotgun, pump or semi-automatic that are traditionally designed to be shot from the shoulder. Garcia states, "It's been cut, so it's 'stock,' and there's silver duct tape."

The barrel of the shotgun also appears to be modified. The firearms examiner noticed tool marks on the barrel. The barrel has been shortened. These are traditionally a much longer length. It would commonly be referred to as a 'sawed off shotgun.'

Defense attorney Amster enters the courtroom.

11:22 AM
The evidence box that contains the shotgun is brought out and examined by the witness. He verifies that the shotgun in the box is the one he recovered. He verifies all the documentation on the box and that it compares to the people's evidence photo of the box and the item. The item was booked under Barbara Ware's case.

[I don't know  why that is, but I'm sure that was explained in the guilt phase of the case.]

When Judge Kennedy asks the defense if they want to cross, the defense asks to go to sidebar.

11:30 AM

The court excuses the jury for lunch. 

1:35 PM
Inside Dept. 109. Before the afternoon session begins,

1:47 PM
The defendant is brought out and Judge Kennedy addresses the gallery. 

Audible reactions to testimony. We need to not have those kinds of displays. ... We want the case to be decided on the evidence, and not anyone's reactions in the gallery.

Counsel brings up a few issues.  DDA Silverman tells the court that, looking at their schedule, they don't know if they will have a full day tomorrow. The people inquire if the defense wants a 402 hearing. 

Amster replies something about [whether they don't have or haven't received?] additional reports. I believe he's waiting for his fingerprint examiner. The court asks how long the defense case is going to take. Amster replies, "Three to four days."  He outlines who he is going to call. Sorenson' DNA expert. A fingerprint expert, police practices [?]. Judge Kennedy responds to the police practices statement. "To testify about what?" The people jump in and state they will need a 402 on that.

The defense is trying to have the people help him get in contact with Mr. Murdock, but the defense has not been able to get a hold of him. The defense did not put Mr. Murdock under subpoena. The defense claim that the people are interfering with this witness.

As far as helping out the defense in getting a hold of Mr. Murdock, the people state that the defense would like the people to assist him, and "...we're not going to assist him. ... now suddenly, we're interfering."

Judge Kennedy interjects but I'm not sure who she's addressing, "It's all on your contact [information]. Make arrangements."

And the battle is on. Back and forth it goes from the defense and people.

DDA Rizzo informs the court that, regarding the Sorensen testimony, there are 402 chain of custody issues regarding the sexual assault kits for Dismuke and Thomas.  The [people did not] present evidence about the collection. We have no [not presented] evidence of sexual assault. No need to establish for chain of custody. The people are not presenting DNA evidence in these two cases.

Then there are questions about the witness coming from Germany. There are also an investigator from the military, the JAG officer, and a victim's family member who is in the hospital.

The court asks the defense that if the people rest on Thursday, does he have witnesses on Friday. The court reminds counsel that they are going to lose June1 because she promised a juror they could attend their child's graduation.

Amster asks a question that I miss, then Atherton is asking something about the weapons confiscated.  The answer is all the firearms were tested and comparisons were made. 

2:00 PM
The jurors are finally brought in. Some of the jurors went shopping and we can see what they bought. Judge Kennedy greeting them back says, "I shouldn't have given you such a long lunch hour. You'll go broke."


Rubin previously testified in the guilt phase about firearms examination. He was also part of the search warrant. He was part of the search teams on July 8, 2010 he searched a vehicle, a Nissan pickup truck, inside the garage at the end of the backyard. The details of what was involved in getting to this vehicle so it could be in a place to be searched are laid out for the jurors.

In the driver side floorboards of this vehicle he had documented, collected and put into evidence a Ruger 22 single 6 revolver.  Rubin is asked to remove the item from it's evidence envelope and compare the documentation on the envelope to the people's photo's of the envelope and weapon that are entered into evidence. 

He inspected the weapon in the lab. He also test fired it into a water recovery tank. The weapon was operable and test fired. He made comparisons of the test fired bullets to the coroner's evidence in this case. He was able to exclude this revolver from any coroner's evidence, just based on the caliber of the bullets.

He was tasked with examining all the firearms evidence found during the search warrant. Showing an exhibit photo on the screen with many firearm photos in the exhibit, the witness verifies that he examined all these firearms that were recovered from the search warrant.

This same pattern was repeated many times. Firearms and magazines were introduced, the witness identifies the item, verifies that the item in front of him is the same one that is depicted in the people's exhibit. He verifies that he test fired all these weapons and made comparisons.

Ruger 22 single 6 revolver, booked as #311
Ruger 22 revolver, [booked at #322]
RG 22 revolver , booked as #326
S&W Revolver, booked as ##27
Ruger 22 long rifle [miss booking #]
Phoenix Arms Raven 25 auto, booked as #720
High Point .380 auto, booked as #722
Winchester 12 gauge shotgun, [miss booking 3]
Titan FIE 25 auto, booked as #625
Titan 25 auto, booked at #721 

[Note: I don't believe my list above is a complete list of all the weapons collected in the search of the residence.]

With, the Titan FIE 25 he compared the three test fired rounds to the coroner's evidence by comparison microscopy. The test fired bullets and weapon barrel matched the coroner's evidence in the Georgia May Thomas case.  Rubin also identifies the bullets that were recovered from Georgia. Both the weapon, test fired bullets and coroner's evidence were rifled 6 left.

As he's explaining his examination, a large group of students with their teachers enter Dept. 109. All the reporters and people here are asked to move down to the very end. The students take up the third and four bench rows in the gallery.

Rubin verifies that another Titan 25 [721] killed Janecia Peters.  He compared the coroner bullets removed from the body of Sharon Dismuke. He identifies the coroner's bullets envelope and the bullets. He recognizes the marks he placed on the bullets. He compared the coroner's evidence to the test fires he made of the Titan 25. The weapon that killed Janecia Peters was the same weapon that killed Sharon Dismuke. The weapon had a rifling of 6 right.

In the guilt phase, he testified about a series of coroner's bullets recovered from many of the victims. Those bullets were all identified as being fired from the same weapon. Those bullets were not fired from any of the firearms recovered from the defendant's residence. 

The people's direct examination ends and the court calls for the afternoon break. After the jury is excused the court asks where their visitors are from They are from the University of Germany. There is also a judge from Germany in the group.

During the break, the people introduce themselves as well as their two lead investigators, LAPD Detective Daryn Dupree and LASD Detective Dee Scott. DDA's Silverman and Rizzo answer questions from the group during the break.

3:30 PM
The jury returns and Amster steps up to cross examine the witness.

The cross examination of Mr. Rubin was extensive and detailed. It was like I was transported back to that week of excruciating firearms examination testimony from Mr. Lamagna and Dr. Hamby. 

Rubin was previously on the stand in the guilt phase. Amster questions Rubin about the process he utilized in the prior cases. He used the same process in comparing these two cases [Dismuke, Thomas] 

The ammo use to test fire the Titan FIE was the same type. Rubin did not know the brand of bullets of the coroner's evidence.  Rubin did not use any of the ammo that was recovered from the search in his test firings.

Amster tries to put an exhibit up on the ELMO. He tells the court, "I'm going to push this button lamp..." The court replies, "Go ahead." Amster laughs. 

Up on the screen is a photo that Rubin took during his comparison of the bullets fired from the Titan [721].

What... why did you take this photo?
We take photos as part of our notes for anything we examine. 

Amster asks for an explanation for how many strata he matched. Rubin states, "I can't show a match here. ... So the resolution is not here. WE do not make comparisons out of photographs. ... We look at  bullets. ... the change in lighting ... the entire surface of the bullet. ... this is just notes. It tells me what I looked at ... and just what area is represented there."

Do notes give you what strata you utilized? 

"Like I've tried to explain ... it's the totality of the strata ... marking dots is not significant to my identification. ... I did not take photos to make my conclusion."

Did you take any other photos as part of your notes?

No, just these two photographs.
There's nothing in your notes thats ... how many strata that led to your conclusion?
I don't count lines. I look at the totality of my examination.
Do you think you could never go [wrong? in your observation?]?
I go into this with a certain amount of confidence ... plus, all my work is reviewed by another examiner.
So you feel you could never [be wrong?] within any given step?
I could always make a clerical [misstep?] but all my work is reviewed by another examiner.

I believe Rubin closes by stating he feels confident in his conclusion.

Rubin only took a single photo of bullet 13B. Amster questions that this single photo, doesn't tell us what Rubin used to make his comparison. 

With the most amazing patience I've ever seen, Rubin explains that this photo captures in 2D, what Rubin examines in 3D.  [All through the 402 evidentiary hearing the week of April 18-22, and then testimony the following week from the same two witnesses, we learned that although comparison microscopes are 2D devices, when you add angled lighting, it creates images that are basically 3D.]

There are questions about his marking system for the bullets and whether he takes measurements of every single land and grove created. Rubin states that lighting is critical to his examinations.

What is the value of taking a photo?
It's there to augment notes for myself and other examiners.

Rubin tries to explain the reality of the inadequacy of using microphotographs for comparison work. Rubin states the photo is a "poor reproduction of what you can see on an comparison microscope."

When asked about CMS [which counts strata], Rubin testified that his method of matching is superior to CMS.

We come to the end of the court day and Amster is not finished cross examining Rubin.

Judge Kennedy jokes with the jury about the Dodger game last night. Judge Kennedy is a Dodger fan. Everyone is ordered back at 9:00 am tomorrow.

Continued on Day 6.......