Lonnie Franklin, Jr., during closing arguments, 5/2/16
Photo Credit: Pool Camera, Mark Boster, LA Times
Prior post can be found HERE.
Wednesday, May 4, 2016
Deliberations will begin at 9:00 am today in the murder trail of Lonnie Franklin, Jr., aka the "Grim Sleeper.
I will be sitting "verdict watch" in this trial. This means that I will be inside the courtroom waiting to hear those three buzzes, that tells us the jurors have reached a verdict on, hopefully, all the charges.
I will try to publish an update on this post every 45 minutes to an hour. Judge Kennedy does not allow live transmissions from inside the courtroom. I will be stepping outside to publish updates.
If something significant happens, for example, three buzzes for a verdict or two buzzes indicating the jury has a question, I will step outside to publish an update on this post. I believe your fastest news for updates on this case will be to keep checking this post.
While I'm waiting, I'll be working on completing my notes of the closing arguments as well as the last two weeks of trial. When I have a section of those notes completed, I will include a link on this post.
Seymour Amster arrived a few minutes ago. Right behind him was local ABC7 reporter Miriam Hernandez.
I see some jurors have already arrived and are waiting near the middle of the hallway.
Defense attorney Kristen Gozawa arrives. She greets the two defense investigators that were here on the 9th floor when I arrived.
Prosecution team arrives. I'm now headed into Dept. 109. Next update in 45 minutes to an hour.
Inside Dept 109.
DDA's Beth Silverman, Marguerite Rizzon and Paul Pzrelomiec are here, along with their two clerk interns. DDA Silverman has handed the two evidence binders to the clerks and they are starting to review them.
The bailiff asks the parties, "Are you ready?" They said yes. DDA Jamie Castro enters the courtroom, followed by a few members of the press including local NBC's Fritz Coleman.
Once the attorneys say they are ready, Judge Kenney's bailiff takes his weapon out of his holster, puts it in the lock box on the wall, and goes to get the defendant. Deputy Sargent Westphal is also hanging out in Dept. 109 by the clerks desk.
The prosecution team is in a huddle going over things.
Franklin is brought out. He is in an orange jumpsuit. He has the standard, white long-john shirt on underneath the jumpsuit. For those who don't know, the jumpsuits are short sleeved.
ABC7's Miriam Hernandez enters and takes one of the comfortable seats by the door. A minute later, three of the male family members, arrive. These are gentlemen that have been at the trial every day.
More family members arrive and take a seat in the gallery.
The bailiff to the clerk: Did you call the judge out?
Bailiff: Can I put the jurors in the back?
The bailiff leaves to get the jurors.
The jurors are not brought in through the courtroom. It's my guess that they were brought back through other employee corridors.
The judge takes the bench. Amster has some redactions on items that have already been admitted. The court states that she's willing to hear Amster's argument. Amster is arguing on DNA exhibits and the language on documents, and that they are not representative of testimony.
Asking that the word "unrelated" to be in there.
DDA Rizzo, tells the court we have no problem adding the word unrelated to the exhibits that do not have them.
Once those are corrected, they will be shown to the defense.
Amster wants to talk about the discovery in penalty phase.
Raw data of Georgia May Thomas, when are we going to receive
Rizzo, Becasue that item is not part of the standard discovery. It's the "E" data and sent a request to the [criminalists].
The prosecution is stating they are going to bring the vicitm of the rape case from Germany. Amster doesn't have any memory of witness statements or discovery on this witness.
DDA Silverman, "It's been turned over."
Judge, "He claims he doesn't have it."
The people request that the defense go back and look through their own information. Every time this has happened it's been shown that they've turned it over.
Amster is asking if there is any additional discovery on this witness.
DDA Silverman states that a transcript from the trial in Germany was provided to the defense. She goes onto explain the case to the court. Franklin was charged in Germany with rape [and I believe another charge] while Franklin was serving in the military. Franklin was tried, convicted and served time in prison in Germany. The people believe that two female witnesses may be coming. The witnesses speak German. They have been coordinating with someone who speaks German.
The people ask if the defense plans on calling their psyciatrist. Amster replies that he doesn't think he will be calling this witness.
And that's pretty much it.
Defendant is remanded.
When I get back inside Dept. 109, I hear Judge Kennedy address her clerk. "I understand they started deliberations?" The clerk replies, "9:18 am, is what I told the press."
DDA Rizzo and one of the clerks left the courtroom to get the change to the exhibits that the defense requested.
Before she gets up to leave, DDA Silverman talks to the family members. She tells them there's a conference room that they can wait in instead of sitting inside the courtroom. The family chooses to leave and they follow Beth out.
Amster is still in the well chatting with Deputy Sargent Westphal. DDA Jamie Castro and one clerk intern are still in the well, going over papers. Once the last exhibits are changed out then I expect I'll be the only one waiting in the gallery.
It's interesting about jury deliberations. It's my understanding that the jurors cannot start deliberating until the verdict forms are in the jury room. Earlier, in her review of the verdict forms while they had the short hearing, DDA Silverman states she found at least one error, a case number was wrong.
So at this time, I do not know if the verdict forms have been given to the jurors yet or not.
The bailiff tells the parties that the jurors need to come out and get their books. The jurors enter the jury room to pick up their things.
All jurors are back in the jury room now.
DDA Rizzo returns with one of the clerk interns. Amster feels they are going need to put this on the record.
Bailiff comes out from the back area that holds the jury room. Amster tells the bailiff they need the defendant to put the change in the exhibits on the record.
Juror #2 is the foreperson. The bailiff tells counsel. This juror is a petite black woman.
Franklin is brought back out.
Judge Kennedy takes the bench. Have those three exhibits been modiified? Yes your honor. Are you satisfied? she asks?
Have the verdict forms been approved by both sides? Yes. Are we ready to send the verdict forms and exhibits to the jury the court asks her clerk?
The clerk states that she just needs to do one last review of the exhibits.
There are no other issues to go over and the defendant is ordered remanded.
DDA Rizzo states she needs to stay on the record. There is something else. DDA Rizzo wants to take a quick review of the defense exhibits to ensure that ones that were objected to were removed. The court approves this request and leaves the bench.
I'm just waiting to verify that the jurors have the exhibits and verdict forms
The bailiff gets a laptop, cords and question forms from the clerk, but he hasn't taken anything back to the jurors yet. The bailiff and the clerk are having a nice chat.
Clerk to Bailiff, I think they're all ready now.
The bailiff and the clerk take all the exhibits and other items back to the jurors.
I checked with Judge Kennedy's clerk. The jurors can start deliberations before they have the verdict forms. There are things they can do, before, like pick the foreperson, which they did.
The bailiff comes out from the jury room area and tells the clerk that they need question forms.
The bailiff takes question forms back to the jury room.
It's very quiet in the courtroom. On camera reporter Miriam Hernandez is here in the gallery. The bailiff suddenly realizes he needs to go talk to the alternates! They have been waiting patiently in the hallway. The alternates are sometimes told to stay reasonably close to the courthouse, and to give the court a number how they can reach them. Sometimes, they give the alternates an empty jury room from another court to hang out in. I've seen both of those situations happen.
The bailiff takes some papers back to the jury room area. Judge Kennedy comes out and asks her clerk about an issue with a totally different case.
The jurors leave for lunch.
I'm on the 9th floor. I see Amster, DDA Rizzo and DDA Silverman. Something must be going on. Maybe they sent a note out, before they left for lunch? It's just a guess.
I'm inside Dept 109. The clerk is showing Amster a piece of paper. The bailiff handed the laptop to DDA Pzrelomiec and said something about files. The people were supposed to provide the jurors a device to watch any video evidence. Now the clerk showed DDA Silverman the same piece of paper.
Apparently, from what I'm overhearing, the jury thought the interview with the defendant was on computer. It isn't. It's on a CD that they need to load into the computer. That's probably what the court will explain to them.
The defendant has not been brought out yet. The jurors are still in the hallway. I'm waiting to hear the bailiff ask counsel if they are ready.
Defendant is brought out.
Court is in session. This is a very meticulous jury. But it shows my mistake that none of us caught. In the jury instruction, the judge mentions count 10. The new instruction states to ignore count 10 in that instruction.
They told the bailiff they were looking for things, they were preloaded. DDA Silverman states it's a clean laptop. There's nothing there to be loaded.
Jurors are called to enter Dept. 109. All jurors and alternate jurors.
On the record. In receipt of note. 17.109 . Count ten was included in that instruction in error. Ignore that count in that instruction.
Explains the purpose of the laptop, and that they actually have to put the exhibit in the laptop in order for it to play.
Judge tells the jurors that the PowerPoint in the closings or the pieces of papers that Mr. Amster placed on the ELMO are not evidence.
The jurors head back into the jury room and the alternates left the courtroom.
Buzz! The jurors are all there and inside the jury room. The defendant is taken back. Judge Kennedy is off the bench.
There are a few family members that have joined the media in the gallery. Miriam Hernandez with ABC7 is here, along with Stephen Ceasar and Pat from the LA Times. I've had a nice chat with one of the deputies about a few of the cases I've covered.
Unfortunately, there's nothing new to report from the jury
CNN reporter Paul Vercamman dropped in to see if there was any news.
BUZZ! BUZZ! The jurors have a question.
The bailiff heads over to the jury room.
It's not a question. The jurors are going on break.
The jury returns from break.
Terri Keith from City News drops in to say hello, .... and work. She's always carrying a stack of papers. I've never seen Terri NOT working.
I hear a door close coming from the jury room area.
BUZZ! BUZZ! The clerk goes back to check.
The jurors exit for the day. The clerk comes out with a sheet of paper that she takes back into the back rooms.
And it appears that's it for the day.