Thursday, May 5, 2016


Lonnie Franklin, Jr., during closing arguments, 5/2/16
Photo Credit: Pool Camera, Mark Boster, LA Times

NOTE: Day Two, Part I of Closing Arguments can be found HERE.
NOTE: Day One, Part III of Closing Arguments can be found HERE.
 Note: Edited victims names for spelling at 2:23 pm
Prior post on this case can be found HERE.
T&T case coverage and media links HERE.

Thursday May 5, 2016
Deliberations resume today in the murder trial of Lonnie Franklin, Jr., aka the "Grim Sleeper" alleged serial killer. Jurors will start their day at 9:00 am. I will be providing periodic updates throughout the day.

Yesterday, as jurors exited the jury room, I observed the court clerk with a single sheet of paper in her hand. I believe that the jurors have sent out a question that will be addressed this morning.

8:43 AM
I'm on the 9th floor. Terri Keith from City News and Miriam Hernandez from ABC7.  We're waiting for counsel to arrive. Some of the jurors have arrived and are sitting in the hallway towards the elevator bay.

9:02 AM
Inside Dept 109. A video camera crew shows up. DDA's Silverman, Rizzo and Pzrelomiec arrive and say hello.

I've published Day One, Part II of closing arguments. This completes all of the prosecution's first closing. The defense closing for day one will be in Part III.

9:04 AM
Jane Robison from the DA's media division arrives.

9:18 AM
On the record. Dale Atherton here. The jury has sent out two communications.

The first is a question. Is it proper to ask how the defendant became a suspect initially? Judge Kennedy states, "Ill just tell them there was no evidence presented on the subject and you must decide the case on the evidence."

Altherton asks to add a clause "...and not from any outside source."

It appears that's agreed to.

The second note is that on Friday May 6, they request dismissed at noon because of doctor appointments for two jurors.

Judge Kennedy tells the clerk to bring the jury in and we'll tell them.

Jury and alternates come in and they take their seats.

The court tells the jurors, "There was no evidence presented in the course of the trial on this subject you're required to base your decision on the evidence alone. ... You are not do any of your own research and you jurors know all about that. ... The court then grants them the requested Friday afternoon off.

The jurors enter the jury room and the alternates leave the courtroom.

DDA Silverman has an issue to bring up. "In looking through the transcript....

9:23 AM 
BUZZ! The jurors have started deliberating for today.

[DDA Silverman continues] "....we couldn't find where 21 items of evidence were reflected as being admitted into evidence. It appears that these were items that were introduced during the defense case. The guns, the photographs of the gun. We didn't find them anywhere in the transcripts and to make it clear."

Judge Kennedy says, "I thought you admitted those into evidence?" Prosecution responds, "Yes, but I did not find in the record where the court admitted them, so I'd like to make a record."

Judge Kennedy, "I believe that, ... but you moved for in the introduction [at the beginning?] of the defense case."  DDA Rizzo tells the court that was a different set. She explains the difference in the numbers.

Judge Kennedy asks, "Did we ... did the defense have the opportunity to object?" The prosecution responds, "Yes." Judge Kennedy responds, "Those items are received as well."

Defense attorney Dale Atherton asks if those items are back with the jury right now. The clerk states yes. Atherton accepts the items into evidence.  And that's it.

9:53 AM
It's back to being very quiet in the courtroom.

10:38 AM
It's just me and another writer in the gallery. The courtroom feels very cold. The bailiff and the clerk have been having a long chat over at the clerk's desk. I can hear the tick of the clock every time it moves a minute forward.

Tuesday, there was a bit of drama in the gallery during the last day of closing arguments. A woman had to be removed from the courtroom and permanently barred from the proceedings. To be permanently kicked out of a case, you must have done something serious

10:45 AM
Buzz! Buzz!
The court clerk goes to check on the jury. She comes out with a sheet of paper.

From what I've overheard, the jury is asking for clarification as to dates on two of the counts.

10:55 AM
Dale Atherton arrives and check in with the clerk.

11;07 AM
Terri Keith, Miriam Hernandez, the Courthouse News reporter and the Associated Press reporter enter Dept. 109.

11:10 AM
DDA's Silverman and Rizzo enter.

11:11 AM
The clerk asks the people if they need to see the question. DDA Silverman replies, "No. The court will read it into the record."

11:13 AM
The defendant is brought out.

11:17 AM
Judge Kennedy takes the bench.

please clarify the date on count 9 March 9 or 19, 2002

Check the date on count 4, April 15 or April 16

According to the indictment the date on count 9 is March 19th, 2016.

DDA Silverman states the date is March 9, the indictment is wrong. The court states that can't be changed. DA Silverman asks that they are to rely on testimony.

Judge Kennedy reads the next item. With regard to count 4, according to the indictment the date is April 15. Testimony is she was found on April 16.

The court asks if the defense wants to be heard. The defense says no.

There is a jury instruction on this specific issue. DDA Silverman explains that the victim went missing The DDA asks that they refer to the specific jury instruction and trial testimony

Judge Kennedy reads the specific jury instruction 4.71. DDA Silverman explains that she went missing on the 15th and was found on the 16th. Judge Kennedy asks the parties if she can just send a written note back with the instruction. It's agreed.

11:29 AM
We have a verdict!

The verdict will be read at 1:30 PM

1;27 PM
Inside Dept 109. Judge Kennedy has ruled that the recording of the verdict can be "live streamed" so I will be reporting from my front row seat.

The courtroom is packed. So many family members here. The second and third rows are packed with them. In the hallway, there were many hugs exchanged as more family members arrived.

After each count is read into the record, I will publish.

1:30 PM
Bailiff tells everyone in the gallery, the press, the DA's everyone, all phones must be off. Also, at the reading of the verdicts there will be no verbal outbursts. You will be asked to leave the courtroom.

DDA Silverman goes over to the family members and tells them that the jury foreperson was an African American female.

1:33 PM 
The defendant is brought out. He's putting his tie on himself. He removes his glasses to put the tie on, over his head.

Every seat is taken. There are four deputy sheriff's by the front door. Two extra deputies in the well of the court. Judge Kennedy takes the bench.

Judge Kennedy cautions the audience not to response in a verbal fashion, no matter what the verdicts are. If the verdicts are guilty this matter continues. If the verdicts are not guilty, then this matter is concluded. For the respect of the jurors and the respect of the court [maintain decorum].

Judge Kennedy greets the jury. The jury foreperson hands the verdict forms to the bailiff who hands them to the court.

The court is opening up each verdict forms.

Franklin stares straight ahead.

Judge Kennedy is going to ask the clerk to read the verdicts at this time.

Count 1 guilty first degree murder of Debra Jackson
Personally used a firearm

Count 2 guilty first degree murder Henrietta Wright
Personally used a firearm

Count 3 guilty first degree murder Barbara Ware
Personally used a firearm

Family members sob behind me.

Count 4 guilty of first degree murder Bernita Sparks
Personally used a firearm

Count 5 guilty of first degree murder Mary Lowe
Personally used a firearm

Count 6 guilty of first degree murder Lachrica Jefferson (spelling)
Personally used a firearm

Family continue to sob.

Count 7 guilty of first degree murder Alicia Alexander
Personally used a firearm

Count 8 guilty of attempted murder of Enietra Washington
Willful and deliberate and premeditated
Personally used a firearm

Count 9 guilty of first degree murder Princess Berthomieus

Count 10 guilty of first degree murder Valerie McCorvdy

Count 11 guilty of first degree murder Janecia Peters
Personally and intentionally used a firearm
Personally and intentionally discharged a firearm
Intentionally used a firearm, handgun
Personally used a firearm to wit (This count had four special allegations attached regarding the use of a firearm.

In the commision of the offences has been convicted of one crime of murder in first degree and one or more murders in the second and first degree murder. Special circumstance of multiple murders.

Defense asks that the jury polled.

After the jury was polled, the court ordered the verdicts are entered into the record. Judge Kennedy asks for counsel at sidebar.

A few family members continue to weep behind me.

Sidebar over.
Judge Kennedy addresses the jury. We've included the first phase of the trial and now we're discussing when the second phase starts. Tells them there are witnesses that are testifying that are coming from far away.

It appears that we are gonna need the next few days to handle those issues.  They will return Thursday May 12 for the jurors to return.

Especially now that these verdicts have been read and that they are out on TV, newspapers, radio. Gives them the instruction again, not to watch read or hear about this case, and the temptation will be strong to talk about it and I know you've taken my orders to heart and you will continue to do so.

Return May 11 at 9:00. That will begin with opening statements and you will hear witnesses.

1:56 PM
Jury exits the courtroom back into the jury room for further instructions from the bailiff.

On Wednesday May 11, we will hear arguments on motions. The defense has some motions and I don't know if the prosecution has some motions. He orders the defendant remanded and counsel back to court for motion arguments at 9:00 am May 11.

And that's it. People start to pack up.

Note, defense attorney Amster was not present. Only Atherton was here for the defendant.

The next post on this case can be found HERE.


gabriele gray said...

Thank you for continually putting a human face and perspective on this trial. I imagine it has been difficult (emotionally) for you often and your dedication to presenting the facts while still allowing the individuals involved in the trial (lawyers, clerks, baliffs, families, the judge) to be seen and recognized as individuals bringing their professional and personal dedication to this landmark