Thursday, August 30, 2012

Lonnie Franklin, Jr.: Pre-trial Hearing.

 Lonnie Franklin, Jr., at an earlier court proceeding.
Photo credit and date unknown.

UPDATED 9/23/13: spelling Ms. Rizzo's first name
There was a very quick hearing in Department 109 in downtown Los Angeles today in the Lonnie Franklin, Jr., case, aka the "Grim Sleeper." The prosecutors assigned to this case are Beth Silverman and Marguerite Rizzo.  Franklin is being represented by Seymour Amster and Louisa Pensanti.

Silverman had on a stunning, form fitting suit; the jacket had a bit of flair around the hips. I kept going back and forth in my mind how to describe the color.  It was a deep plum with raspberry tones.  Rizzo was wearing a black suit, white lace top that was accented with a couple strands of large pearls.

Before Judge Kennedy takes the bench, counsel for both sides talk about scheduling then next pretrial hearing and it looks like they are already settling on a tentative date from what those of us in the gallery are overhearing.

At 9:10 AM Franklin is brought out.

Judge Kennedy quickly takes the bench and asks counsel where they are.  Discovery is proceeding now without any glitches.  The case it put over until October 24th, 2012.  Judge Kennedy asks if that is agreeable to the people.  It is.  Judge Kennedy advises the defendant who waives his right to a speedy trial.

Right after that, Ms. Rizzo speaks up and advises Judge Kennedy about another issue, working out the details of having the defense ballistics expert test/examine evidence.  Rizzo states they will ask the court to sign individual "DR numbers" for each case.  The prosecution will talk with (defense?) counsel for a time frame to keep things moving.

Judge Kennedy sounds pleased, responding. "That sounds good. (snip) Thanks very much."

And that's it. Judge Kennedy leaves the bench and Franklin is taken back into the jail area.  It's over so quickly and most in the gallery are still sitting in their seats, almost like they are dazed at how quick the hearing was.  There were at least seven or eight members of the victims families in the gallery that I recognized during the last hearing in July.  The group likes to sit beside each other in the second row, and I moved to the back row to give them room so they could all be together.

When Silverman walks out of the courtroom, I look down at her feet to see what type of shoes she wore with that dark suit.  Very classy, closed-toe snakeskin pumps.

From Wikipedia, list of Franklin's known victims in chronological order of attack:

Name, Sex, Age, and the date remains were found.
1 Debra Jackson F 29 August 10, 1985
2 Henrietta Wright F 34 August 12, 1986
3 Thomas Steele M 36 August 14, 1986
4 Barbara Ware F 23 January 10, 1987
5 Bernita Sparks F 26 April 15, 1987
6 Mary Lowe F 26 November 1, 1987
7 Lachrica Jefferson F 22 January 30, 1988
8 Alice Monique Alexander F 18 September 11, 1988
9 Enietra "Margette" Washington‡‡ F 30 Survived
10 Princess Berthomieux F 15 March 19, 2002
11 Valeria McCorvey F 35 July 11, 2003
12 Janecia Peters F 25 January 1, 2007


cereusle said...

Thanks for covering this case. I hope you'll be able to attend the entire trial so I can be there by proxy. I'm looking forward to your up close and personal view.

Sprocket said...


May I ask, are you interested because you are related to one of the parties involved? (victims/ defendant) I totally understand if you are and do not want to say.

Unfortunately, it is still too early to say whether or not I will be able to attend all the pre-trial hearings and the actual trial every day in this case. It will depend on when the case goes to trial, and the schedule of other cases I'm following.

I'm only one person, and I can't be in two courtrooms at once.

It's my understanding that the cases were solved by a DNA match. Beth Silverman recently prosecuted (with co-counsel Eric Harmon) and successfully convicted another multiple murderer, Latece Megale Brown.

If the DNA evidence is solid, and considering the number of victims charged, it's my opinion the prosecution probably has a strong case.

Anonymous said...

Lonnie Franklin was caught through familial DNA testing. The LAPD had set up a task force to find the Grim Sleeper. They called in all sex offenders who fitted the description they had of the Grim Sleeper.

None of those panned out, but they did identify John Floyd Thomas as the Westside Rapist of the 1970's. Thomas is now serving a life sentence.

The LAPD then tried familial testing, anyone close to the profile. They found somebody who turned out to be the son of Lonnie Franklin. When Franklin ate a pizza, undercover officers took the discarded utensils and leftovers for Franklin's DNA. It matched the Grim Sleeper.

Franklin was put under 24-hour surveillance. He was found to often drive around at night. Franklin was arrested soon arrested.

Without DNA databases and testing, the Grim Sleeper suspect would still be cruising the streets.

David In TN

Soapbubble said...

I'm dismayed by the lack of media attention has received. It's as if the black victims of a serial killer don't matter. :(

Sprocket said...

I don't know specifically, but I believe the Franklin case was started via grand jury. I will try to verify that with the DA's office if that's true or if there was a preliminary hearing.

It's not surprising the case has been taking this long. There are 11 victims. All the evidence from these victims the defense will want to test themselves. That takes time.

While the case slowly makes its way towards trial, there's not much for the mainstream press to report. The hearings are pretty boring and there isn't much to report.

Please take into consideration the fact that most news organizations are cutting jobs verses adding them. Many historical papers are dying because of the changing face of how many people now get their news, via the Internet verses paying for a paper.

And, local news TV stations only have so many minutes in a news hour to dedicate to covering newsworthy events. This is why you often see lots of news after someone is arrested. It then slows down until the preliminary hearing when evidence is presented. Then, coverage almost stops until jury selection begins.

Every once in a while, something will happen in pretrial evidence is submitted to be under seal, and the judge releases it... that create breaking news on a case. That's what happened in the Stephanie Lazarus case when Judge Robert Perry released the video of Lazarus's interview by Robbery Homicide detectives.