UPDATED: Friday, May 6, 12:00 PM EST
A jury took less than two days to convict Lonnie David Franklin, Jr. in the murder of nine women and one girl in a string of killings that spanned over three decades.
The trial in Los Angeles County Superior Court will now go to the penalty phase, beginning May 11, in which jurors will be asked to decide whether Franklin, 63, should be put to death for his crimes. Prosecutors disclosed Wednesday that two more women — one he was convicted of raping and another he attempted to kidnap and rape in Germany while in the U.S. Army in the 1970s — may testify during the penalty phase of his trial.
Franklin was also found guilty of one count of attempted murder. This is a developing story.
UPDATED: Wednesday, May 4, 4:25 PM EST
Jurors on Wednesday began debating the fate of Lonnie Franklin Jr., an alleged serial killer who earned the moniker the “Grim Sleeper” because he took a long break from his crimes, reports Reuters:
The jurors were handed the case late on Tuesday after both sides delivered closing arguments in the nearly three-month trial of Lonnie David Franklin Jr., 63, who could face the death penalty if convicted of the 10 counts of first-degree murder against him.
A gap of more than 13 years between two spates of killings earned the killer the nickname “Grim Sleeper.”
Franklin’s attorney, Seymour Amster, told the panel that forensic and DNA evidence submitted by prosecutors had been “inconclusive,” failing to link him to the victims, according to a City News Service account of the proceedings.
During closing arguments, the prosecutor described him as a monster who ” shot and strangled women, many prostitutes, and dumped their bodies in alleys not far from his home” in south Los Angeles, NBC News reports.
Most of his victims were Black women who lived in poor neighborhoods that were wracked by drug abuse and prostitution.
During closing arguments that began Monday, a prosecutor used an arsenal of evidence to paint Lonnie Franklin, an accused serial killer, as a monster who “shot and strangled women, many prostitutes, and dumped their bodies in alleys not far from his home>” in south Los Angeles, reports CBS Local.
Deputy District Attorney Beth Silverman “displayed charts, diagrams, photos and DNA test results throughout the 3-month-old trial to make the case” that Franklin was a cold-blooded killer hiding in plain sight, writes the news outlet:
“Ten young women,” Deputy District Attorney Beth Silverman said during closing arguments in Los Angeles Superior Court. “All of them cruelly murdered by that man.”
Franklin, 63, a former garbage collector who also worked as a mechanic for the Los Angeles Police Department, could face the death penalty if convicted of the slayings of a 15-year-old girl and nine young women. He has pleaded not guilty to murder, and to attempted murder in the case of a woman who survived.
Silverman spent hours discussing how ballistics tests showed that most of the women had been killed by the same gun, their bodies deposited in similar places and Franklin’s DNA was found on victims and the zip tie of the trash bag holding Peters’ body.
But Franklin’s attorney, Seymour Amster, said prosecutors had built an inferior case based on circumstantial evidence. If convicted of the charges, Franklin faces the death penalty.
SOURCE: NBC News | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty