Photo via Pixabay
Photo via Pixabay

A judge Monday again delayed the trial date for the man charged in the “Grim Sleeper” killings of nine women and a teenage girl.

The prosecutor and Lonnie David Franklin Jr.’s attorney have battled for months over discovery in the case, with each accusing the other of gamesmanship and “trial by ambush.” Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Kathleen Kennedy Monday postponed the scheduled Sept. 9 trial to Oct. 14.

Kennedy also set Aug. 31 as a deadline for all defense discovery to be turned over to the prosecution.

“We’re not going to keep putting this off endlessly,” said Kennedy, who in May moved the trial date from June 30 to Sept. 9.

She ordered defense attorney Seymour Amster to either make all reports and raw data from potential witnesses available to the prosecution by the end of this month or to bring his experts into court to explain why they can’t complete their work.

Amster said he was still making decisions about which witnesses to call. His list of possible witnesses includes a metallurgist, a neurologist and an expert on drug trafficking, with Amster saying the experts may or may not be needed to refute witnesses for the prosecution.

Deputy District Attorney Beth Silverman said the defense had grand jury transcripts that offered a detailed account of the prosecution’s case. Silverman, who asked for the postponement, said she wouldn’t announce that she was ready for trial until she had all the discovery, along with another 30 days to prepare.

Otherwise, “we go to trial and then be ambushed by him,” Silverman said.

“It’s time to make these decisions,” Kennedy said to Amster, drawing sounds of approval from victims’ family members in the courtroom.

But the judge seemed no less frustrated by the prosecution, telling Silverman, “You are as prepared or more prepared than anyone walking the planet to try this case.”

Amster also accused Silverman of “hiding the ball,” telling Kennedy, “We expect in this case to get discovery at the very last minute.”

The defense attorney said he might use clips from an HBO documentary, “Tales of the Grim Sleeper,” to throw doubt on some witness testimony, sparking another argument about whether the entire film needed to be subpoenaed before trial.

Both sides have reviewed the film, according to Amster.

Hundreds of jurors are expected to be called in for the case, according to Kennedy.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against the 62-year-old one- time city employee, who’s charged with the murders of nine women — who were mostly in their 20s — and a 15-year-old girl whose bodies were dumped in alleys and trash bins in and around South Los Angeles, Inglewood and unincorporated county areas. He is additionally charged with with the attempted murder of another woman.

The killings occurred between 1985 and 1988, and 2002 and 2007, with the assailant dubbed the “Grim Sleeper” because of the apparent 13-year break between killing sprees.

Detectives have said since Franklin’s arrest that they were investigating whether he might be connected to the disappearances or deaths of eight other women whose photos were found in his home near 81st Street and Harvard Boulevard.

—City News Service

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