Friday, June 3, 2016

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.