Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Opening Statements in the "Grim Sleeper" Murder Trial Start Today

Lonnie Franklin, Jr., in custody

T&T Full case coverage can be found HERE.

UPDATE 11:05 AM - Morning Break
UPDATE 5:30 AM - correct number of alternates
Tuesday, February 16, 2015
The prosecution will be giving their opening statement today in the trial of alleged serial killer, Lonnie David Franklin, Jr., aka the Grim Sleeper. The prosecution's statement is expected to take 1.5 to 2 hours. The defense is not expected to make an opening statement.

Franklin is charged with ten counts of 187 first degree murder and one count of attempted murder. The DA's office is seeking the death penalty.

The initial mid-1980's murders occurred in South Los Angeles, where there were several serial killers operating around the same time [Chester Turner, Michael Hughes, Louis Crane, Daniel Lee Seibert].

In August 2008, reporter Christine Pelisek, writing for the LA Weekly, broke the story that there was an unidentified serial killer linked to 11 murders, operating in South Los Angeles. The article named the killer the Grim Sleeper because at the time, it was believed the killer took a 13 year break before resuming his killing spree in 2002. It is now believed that the killer was active during that time. LE believes Franklin is connected to several other murders.

Franklin was linked to the victims through a familial DNA match. Franklin's son Christopher was convicted on a felony weapons charge. His DNA was entered into the CODIS system and compared with the DNA found on many of the victims. In April 2010, a potential familial match was discovered. Franklin was arrested July 7, 2010. He's been in custody ever since.

- Lonnie David Franklin, Jr.
Prosecution team - DDA's Beth Silverman and Marguerite Rizzo
Defense team - Seymour Amster, Dale Atherton, Kristen Gozawa
Judge - Dept. 109, Honorable Kathleen Kennedy

Tracking the Case

Opening statements mark the 11th day of trial for the Franklin case. There were a total of 10 days of jury selection. The first four days of initial jury selection occurred in December 2015 when over 300 jurors filled out questionnaires. An additional six days of voir dire occurred in January 2016 to seat 12 jurors and 6 alternates.

There are only 12 reserved media seats for this trial. There are 25 reserved seats for the victim's family members. There are a few reserved seats for the defendant's family. There are seats reserved for various prosecution and court staff. After those individuals are seated, the general public will get the remaining seats.

Judge Kennedy has ruled that only opening statements, the reading of the verdict and sentencing will be filmed. Judge Kennedy does not allow transmissions of any kind while court is in session. I will try my best to update on the trial twice a day. Once during the lunch break and later in the evening.

11:05 AM
DDA Beth Silverman gave a powerful opening statement, outlining the victims, the crimes, the evidnece to the jury. She spoke for 70 minutes. The court is on a morning break.