After more than five days of hearings about DNA evidence related to the “Grim Sleeper” killings of nine women and a teenage girl, a judge Monday denied a defense motion to present evidence suggesting that 20 other people, including an already convicted serial killer, might be responsible for the crimes.
Lonnie Franklin, a 63-year-old former city employee, is charged with the “Grim Sleeper” murders. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
An expert called by defense attorney Seymour Amster testified that some DNA evidence related to the crimes could be linked to convicted serial killer Chester Turner and 19 other less notorious individuals.
But Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Kathleen Kennedy said the defense expert’s analysis fell short of scientific standards and ruled that the DNA testimony — called third-party culpability evidence — would not be allowed at trial or during the penalty phase.
Another motions hearing on other matters is scheduled for Nov. 16. Jury selection in the long-delayed case is expected to begin Dec. 15.
Franklin is charged with the murders of nine women — who were mostly in their 20s — and a 15-year-old girl. The victims’ bodies were dumped in alleys and trash bins in and around South Los Angeles, Inglewood and unincorporated county areas. He is also charged 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 roughly 13-year break between killing sprees.
Detectives have said they are also investigating whether Franklin 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.
Chester Turner was sentenced to death in 2007 for 10 murders that occurred between 1987 and 1998. He was charged with four more killings and convicted in 2014, and was again sentenced to death.
— Wire reports