Nearly 70 potential panelists were asked Wednesday to fill out questionnaires during the second day of jury selection for the trial of the man charged in the “Grim Sleeper” killings of nine women and a teenage girl between 1985 and 2007.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Kathleen Kennedy asked nearly six-dozen prospective panelists to fill out questionnaires on Tuesday. She told potential jurors that the trial of Lonnie Franklin Jr. is a “serious” and “complicated” case that has “garnered a fair amount of publicity.”
Franklin, a 63-year-old one-time city employee, is 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 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 apparent 13-year break between killing sprees.
Detectives have said since his arrest that they were also 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.
On Tuesday, the judge told the first group of potential jurors that the case had been referred to in the media as the “Grim Sleeper trial” but said it was not the court’s name for the case. She urged the group not to read, listen to or watch any news accounts about the case.
Kennedy told the group that both sides have a right to have 12 impartial jurors decide the case based upon the evidence presented during the trial, adding that cases are tried in court and not in the media.
The judge also noted that TV and still cameras may be in court during the trial, but assured the potential panelists that they would not be shown and that their privacy “will be protected at all times.”
The judge instructed the first set of prospective jurors to fill out questionnaires and return to court Jan. 25, when they are expected to be orally questioned after the judge and attorneys review the jury questionnaires.
“This trial is one in which the prosecution is seeking the death penalty,” Kennedy told the group, noting that the questionnaires include questions about prospective jurors’ views on capital punishment.
Two more groups of potential jurors are due in court Thursday and Friday to fill out questionnaires. They are also expected to be ordered to return to court in late January.
The judge estimated that the trial could last about three months, concluding some time in April.
—City News Service