Monday, June 6, 2016

Lonnie Franklin, Jr., "Grim Sleeper," Penalty Phase Verdict Watch Day 2

 Lonnie Franklin, Jr., in custody, 2015
Photo Credit: Pool Camera

UPDATE 6/8 NOTE: A summary page has been developed of all the witnesses who testified in the penalty phase, with links to the pages of their detailed testimony.

UPDATE 6/7  Day 9 Part II has been published. This concludes all the prosecution witnesses who testified in the penalty phase.
UPDATE 6/7 Day 9 Part I has been published. This includes the testimony of the German witness. Sprocket.

UPDATED 4:03 PM spelling, grammar, clarity
UPDATED 3:45 PM spelling, grammar, clarity and afterword
Monday June 6, 2016
9:08 AM
I'm still out in the hallway of the 9th floor of the downtown Criminal Justice Center. All the jurors have not arrived yet, so deliberations have not started. Judge Kennedy's bailiff is chatting with the jurors who have arrived. There are about seven or eight jurors here.

9:10 AM
Marissa Gerber from the LA Times arrives on the 9th floor. A cameraman is here and a reporter I know by sight but I don't know her name. Three members of the Anderson family have arrived.

9:12 AM
Terri Keith from City News is here.

9:14 AM
Quite a bit of laughter coming from the jurors chatting with the bailiff. Judge Kennedy's bailiff is really a funny guy.  Local ABC 7's Miriam Hernandez is here.  Miriam looks lovely today, as always.

9:18 AM
The jurors and the bailiff head into Dept. 109.

The jurors gave a single buzz that they have started deliberating.

9:27 AM
NBC's Patrick Healy arrives and chats with the cameraman. Besides the fires, this case may be the only 'big' news in the area.

9:45 AM
Smiling, Judge Kennedy came out and said hello to the media.

9:48 AM 
BUZZ! BUZZ!  A question. The court clerk goes back to ask. The clerk comes out carrying a container and tells the media that it's "food related." The jurors wanted to share some of the food they brought with the alternates.  I believe it's tamales.

10:00 AM
Scriptwriter MW arrives.  A while ago, Terri left to check into her office.

10:13 AM
LA Times reporter Marissa Gerber enters Dept. 109 and plugs in her laptop. The bailiff enters right after and scolds a few of the reporters on their cell phones.

10:22 AM
Buzz! Buzz! The bailiff goes to check. Morning break.

10:34 AM
Well known sketch artist Mona Edwards arrives and starts a conversation with Miriam. Miriam's network hires Edwards to do courtroom sketches.

10:40 AM
The jurors file in and reenter the jury room.

10:41 AM
Buzz! They are deliberating again.

10:43 AM
Mona Edwards leaves the courtroom.

10:56 AM 
Reporter Terri Keith returns. She immediately opens up her files and starts working.

10:59 AM
Deputy Sargent Westphal returns and stops by the bailiff's desk. He was here earlier this morning when the jurors were waiting for everyone to arrive.  It was a short visit.

11:11 AM
Mary Alexander [mother of victim Alicia Alexander] and two of her son's are in the courtroom.

11:21 AM
BUZZ BUZZ BUZZ! We have a verdict. The bailiff went back to check on the jurors.

A few minutes later, Judge Kennedy comes out to view the gallery. The bailiff comes out from the jury room. The bailiff and the judge go back to discuss a time.

Verdict will be read at 12:30 PM

The jurors deliberated about 3.5 hours on Friday and about 1.75 hours today, for a total of just over five hours of deliberations today. 

11:30 AM
The bustling has already started with the media. There is a camerawoman setting up the camera.

11:46 AM
I'm in the cafeteria grabbing a quick lunch. Seven of the jurors are sitting at a table, having their last meal together. It's been a long journey.

At around 11:38 AM, the bailiff closed the courtroom to the media since the court staff were taking their lunch early, and would be working through their normal lunch hour.

12:15 PM
The 9th floor is busy with lots of press. I see interns that are working for the DA's office. Mary Hearn from the court's Public Information Office is here. The three alternates are on the 9th floor. New reporters are Dave Lopez, Reporter Claudia from KNX, and Christine Pelisek, the reporter who broke the case. I saw KFI's Eric Leonard in the first floor lobby when I first went downstairs to grab a bite to eat.

There are quite a few conversations going on at once, but the floor isn't very packed.

12:20 PM 
DDA Tannaz Mokayef arrives to hear the verdict. I see the two clerk interns who worked on the case arrive. Two of the DA's victim advocates are here. I also see another group of young looking DA interns.

Head Deputy Patricia Wilkinson arrives and it let into the courtroom along with several other DA's.
DDA Silverman is on the floor along with Detective Daryn Dupree. She is hugging family members and telling them, "We're done!"

Seymour Amster arrives. Family members are being let into the courtroom first.

12:28 PM
Inside  Dept. 109. DDA Silverman tells the family that they don't have to talk to the media if they don't want to. DDA Silverman makes it clear that if the defense team does speak to the media, she will not be there. There are family members here, but not nearly as many as were here for guilt verdict.

Amster is here but the rest of his defense team is not. The media and the bailiff are getting the logistics together as to when they can turn their camera and microphones on.

12:34 PM
The courtroom is packed. There are quite a few interns from the DA's office, as well as other DA staff and superior court personnel.

12;35 PM
Amster tells someone the gallery, probably one of the reporters, that Beth Silverman will probably speak, ... and after he says her name DDA Silverman interrupts and says, "Mr. Amster doesn't speak for me and never does."

Still getting the last bit of logistics ready.

Three deputies by the courtroom door. Three additional deputies in the well besides the bailiff.

No live transmission from the courtroom. Only a live transmission to the 12th floor, who sends out the live feed.  It doesn't make any sense.

12:42 PM
The bailiff goes to get the defendant.

More family members arrive at the last moment.
The defendant is brought out.

12:44 PM
The court takes the bench.

Caution members of the audience to maintain their dignity.  Court orders the jurors and alternates to be brought into the courtroom.

12:45 PM
The jury enters.

Judge Kennedy greets the jury. Juror #2 was the jury foreperson on this part as well. The verdicts are handed to the bailiff who hands them to the court.

Clerk will read the verdicts.








Family members weep behind me.  Mary Alexander shakes.





The defense has the jurors polled.

Judge Kennedy: All of the jurors have entered into the affirmative.

This has been a very long process we started picking you as jurors in December of last year.

You have been an absolutely exemplary jury ... toward all the respect you've shown to the staff and the attention you paid for in this case.  You now know more about DNA than 90 % of the population.  I know that listening to evidence like this is not easy. There we a lot of very gruesome details that you had to listen to over and over again and yet you maintained your composure and dignity... when I look at you, and our alternates, ... but you are just as important as the original 12. We had such a committed group that made personal sacrifices ... to stay on as long as you did.

I've been on the bench almost 28 years, ...28 in October. You are, without a doubt just the finest group of jurors we've had in terms of how you dealt with people and with each other ... and I'm really going to miss all of you. I'm going to, [I wish I could] bottle you and save you for all my other trials.

The court tells them they cannot be called for jury service for a year. The court speaks more to their jury service. You come from all kinds of backgrounds and ethnicity and some not born in the US. And we have 12 people, ... who have to tackle this monumental task, and you respected each other and kept your composure and had a great attitude towards this process, and you are the best of the US.

The court tells them about if they want to speak to the media it is their decision. She tells them that the court will protect their identity. However, once they speak, their identity is out.

You are relieved from all the admonitions I put on you on this case. You can read and talk about it with anyone. Absolutely free of those limitations. I will tell you that, you are also free to speak to the attorneys. You can come to future proceedings in this case if you wish to.  As I said, you've been such an extraordinary group, and want to thank you so much for your participation. We're going to miss you.

The court continues to thank and praise the jury.

The jury goes back to the jury room to get their personal belongings. DDA Silverman and DDA Rizzo stand as they leave.

Judge Kennedy tells the gallery that the jurors have asked to leave privately so the bailiff will escort them out.

Setting a sentencing date.  August 10th.  The court tells counsel they have to go through the record to verify the transcripts. If you seek a continuance beyond August 10, please let the court know as soon as possible.

Amster addresses the court. He has selected August 10, to accomplish all these tasks.  It will [be the defense who] most likely is to ask for continuance. Their drop date would be August 3, to ask for a continuance, then the court could let the prosecution know if they are going to grant it, so they know to notify the victim families.

Defendant is remanded. People start to pack up.

DDA Silverman hugs Detective Dupree as she exits. Now DDA Rizzo hugs Detective Dupree.  People file out of the courtroom.

3:45 PM
I'm home now. Here is my update on what happened after the courtroom was cleared.

Several victim's family members spoke to the press on the 12th Floor lobby.  Then the prosecutors answered questions from the press and introduced everyone from their team. I tape recorded those interviews and it will take me a while to get the highlights transcribed. I will be concentrating on getting my notes on the last day of the people's case completed, the defense case next and then closing arguments.  In-between that, I'll also try to bring you some still photos from the press conference. I have to have someone help me in blurring out faces of people who did not agree to be photographed.

After the prosecution finished speaking, I headed towards an elevator. I didn't see until the elevator doors were closing that Seymour Amster started to give the press a statement. I did not stay for it; my feet were about to give out and I needed a break. However, I did hear about it from other reporters.

Mr. Amster was said to have been screaming at the press. DDA Silverman was still on the 12 floor and called out to Amster during his statement. I don't have Beth's exact quote, but it was something to the effect of, You don't need to scream, the camera's right in front of your face.

I waited in the ground floor lobby for the prosecution team to emerge from the elevators. It was easy to see on everyone's faces that a great weight had been lifted off their shoulders. The sentencing still has to happen but basically, that's just a formality. It's over. The jury has spoken and the verdicts read into the record. Franklin will stay in LA County custody for the time being.

I learned that DDA's Paul Pzrelomiec and Jamie Castro will go back to their regular assignments in different divisions. It is unknown whether the law clerks, who, having passed the bar and are full fledged attorneys now, will stay with the DA's office. Detective Dave Holmes is happy to get his partner Detective Dupree back. They've got many more cases to work on together.

In the courthouse lobby, I watched as Detective Holmes and a staff assistant took photos of the team. The biggest decision on their minds after that, was where to go for lunch.

Thank you all, for reading T&T.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Lonnie Franklin, Jr., "Grim Sleeper," Penatly Phase Verdict Watch Day 1

Lonnie Franklin, Jr, left, Def. Atty. Seymour Amster, right.
Photo Credit, Al Seib, Los Angeles Times

Friday June 3, 2016 - Verdict Watch 10:47 AM
The bailiff takes the evidence book and the verdict forms back to the jury room.

10:57 AM
It's very quiet in here. ABC's Miriam Hernandez is the only other person in the gallery besides myself and scriptwriter MW.

The clerk is busy on the phone. The ticking of the clock is the loudest noise in the courtroom now, even though all three of us in the gallery are working on our laptops.

11:11 AM
In the eerily silent courtroom, I'm working on the detailed testimony from the people's final witnesses, a week ago Thursday: The German woman, the JAG officer, the Army records supervisor and the three victim impact witnesses. Currently, I'm in the middle of the JAG officer's testimony.  So I'm flipping back and forth between this tab and my work on that entry.

11:21 AM
The clerk answers a phone call question about closing arguments.

11:35 AM
A deputy enters and asks the clerk a question. Then a woman enters. It's a older woman from the public who has attended the trial off and on for the last couple of weeks. It appears she thinks she left a pair of shoes in a bag inside the courtroom. She speaks to the clerk. The clerk asks her to wait for the bailiff to return.

11:40 AM
The clerk is hard at work at her desk. I can see files being organized and I hear sounds of heavy stapling, stamping of forms and occasional typing.

11:49 AM
I notice something I've never noticed before. On the wall behind the bench, just to the right of the US flag, in-between the clerk's desk area and the bench, is a round white button of some sort. It's about 3 or 4 inches round, set withing a square. It's down low, lower than the thermostat that's to the left of the flag.

11:54 AM
I ask the bailiff. He tells me it's a light switch controlling lights over the judge's bench.

11:56 AM
The bailiff opens the door to the custody area. He calls in, "Franklin, are you good?" I believe Franklin replies, "I'm good."

11:58 AM
BUZZ! BUZZ! The bailiff tells us, "That's either a question or break time," as he heads back to the jury room.

Break. The jurors leave for lunch.

Judge Kennedy comes out and smiling, watches as the jurors leave. One juror tells judge Kennedy, "I loved your necklace yesterday."

And we are on lunch break.

The bailiff unlocks the door and the jurors file in. There is some pleasant banter between the jurors and the bailiff.

2:13 PM
In the gallery, it's just me, Miriam Hernandez, MW, and a news camera operator I've seen around trials for a long time. The bailiff and the clerk have been having a conversation that's been keeping both of them in stitches for about 10 minutes now. I can also hear some conversation in the back support rooms among other court staff members.

There's not much to talk about, except when the jury might come back with a verdict. In the James Fayed case, the jurors deliberated five days before coming back with a death penalty verdict. Like I've said time and time again, I don't try to predict what a jury will do, because juries will surprise you.

 2:46 PM
Not a peep from the jury. All quiet in Dept. 109.

Judge Kennedy comes out to ask her clerk a question. Judge Kennedy is wearing a dark green olive dress with a brown cinched belt. From where I'm sitting, it's a white looking beaded necklace.

3:06 PM
Tracy from the DA's victim advocate program drops by with DDA Tannaz Mokayef drop in to see what's happening. We chat the Fayed case and the Kelly Soo Park case. DDA Mokayef prosecuted the three accomplices connected to Pamela Fayed's murder.

3:14 PM
The bailiff comes over to where Tracy and DDA Mokayef are sitting to join their conversation.

3:24 PM
Buzz! Buzz! It's either a question or a break. The bailiff goes to check.

The bailiff comes out. The jurors have a question but no paper. Someone is on hold on the phone but the bailiff says they don't have to come over.  The bailiff states they jury is going home.

5:05 PM
I'm home. It's clear from what I observed and overheard that the jurors asked if they could go home early. The clerk or the bailiff went back to Judge Kennedy's chambers to ask. Right after it was approved, the bailiff told the gallery and he went over to let the jury know.

While this was going on, the clerk was on the phone with possibly one of the attorneys. That's what I believe.

Jurors return Monday at 9:00 am to continue their deliberations.

Lonnie Franklin, Jr., "Grim Sleeper," Penalty Phase Update

Lonnie David Franklin, Jr. During his trial
Photo Credit: Pool Camera
T&T Case coverage and Media Links HERE.

Friday June 3, 2016
8:15 AM
Here's what's happened the last few days of trial.

On Thursday, May 26, 2016 the prosecution presented their final witnesses in their case-in-chief. A woman traveled from Germany to testify about events that happened to her in 1974, when she was 17 years old.  In the early evening of April 16, 1974, while waiting for a train ride home in Stuttgart, Germany, this German woman was kidnapped by three African American servicemen. With a knife held to her throat with threats that she would be killed, she was driven out of the city into the country. The servicemen pulled into a field and all three proceeded to gang rape her throughout the night.

Through two other witnesses, one a JAG officer and the other a US Army records supervisor, DDA Beth Silverman presented evidence that one of the individuals who participated in the attack was the defendant.

In the afternoon, Romy Lampkin testified about the loss of her best friend, her sister, Lachrica Jefferson and the impact her loss had on her and the family. They shared a bedroom growing up. Romy described a sister who was her "protector," more outgoing than she was and wanted to be a pediatrician when she grew up She was devastated when she learned of her sister's death. She described how her mother broke down when she had to tell her that Lachrica was dead.

After Ms. Lampkin, Billy Ware testified about the loss of his sister, Barbara Ware. Billy talked about how he and Barbara grew up together. They were very close and did everything together. They were like one person and protected each other. After Billy testified, his stepmother, Diana Ware took the stand to talk about how when she married Billy and Barbara's father, they became a blended family, like the Brady Bunch. She described the shock and devastation on the family when they learned about Barbara's murder.

After Diana testified, the people rested with the exception of admittance of exhibits. The jury was ordered back the following Tuesday.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016, the defense presented two witnesses, a retired LAPD homicide detective Tim Williams who testified that the Inez Warren murder may not have been a body dump, and a fingerprint expert Kurt Kuhn, who agreed with the people's expert, Mr. Duncan that the latent print found on the Titan gun magazine was from the defendant.

Wednesday, court was dark so a juror could attend their child's graduation ceremony.

Thursday,  June 2, 2016, DDA Silverman presented her closing argument. Almost the first hour of the morning was taken up with defense attorney Seymour Amster's objections to many slides in the people's Powerpoint presentation. Silverman systematically went through the evidence presented at trial arguing that the defense presented no mitigating evidence. Point by point, the prosecution went over the three aggravating factors, the ten murders, the additional crimes, the victim impact statements and the evidence of remorselessness of the defendant. DDA Sliverman spoke for over an hour in the morning session and about an hour and a half in the afternoon session.

Friday, June 3, 2016. Defense attorney Dale Atherton spoke to the jurors extensively about jury instructions and the mitigating factors they can rely on to choose life. He also goes over lingering doubt in the murders of the ten women, focusing on the unknown DNA found on many of the victims. He asked the jurors, "Don't you want to know..." who those individuals are?

He talked about the mystery gun and that they don't have it in evidence. He also talked about Eneitra Washington being the "key to the prosecution's case." He then delved into all the inconsistencies with her testimony, the sketch, the pock marks verses skin discolorations, no Franklin DNA on her underwear.

Atherton read a poem about a forked path in the woods and which path to take with no one to give guidance. And then he spoke passionately about mercy. Several times during his talks about mercy, his voice got emotional, and he sounded like he was near tears. Since Atherton was facing away from me, I could not tell if he did have tears in his eyes. He quoted from The Merchant of Venice on mercy. He quoted from President Lincoln's 2nd Inaugural address. He then read from a news article about a woman who forgave her son's killer and after he was released from prison, had him move next door to her.

Closing arguments ended around 10:13 AM and then Judge Kennedy read the jurors their final instructions. They entered the jury room at 10:19 AM

There was a lot of lingering inside the courtroom after Judge Kennedy told parties there would be
one hour notice for counsel to get here for the reading of the verdict.

Just now, at 10:47 AM the bailiff took the evidence book and the verdict forms back to the jury room. There are 10 verdict forms for the counts the jurors have to decide on the death penalty.

I'll be here inside the courtroom for verdict watch. I'll be starting a new post to cover that. Over the next week, I'll be getting my detailed notes up on the last witnesses and the closing arguments, so look for those in the days ahead.

A shout out to a special T&T reader in the Carolina's, that I just learned about this morning before court started.