By Pete Demetriou

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — An attorney for the suspect in one of the Southland’s most prolific serial murder cases turned a court appearance on Monday into a plea on behalf of the taxpaying public.

KNX 1070’s Pete Demetriou reports attorneys for Lonnie Franklin Jr. asked a judge to consider consolidating all of the murder charges that could ultimately be filed against their client.

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In a pretrial hearing at the Criminal Courts Building in downtown Los Angeles, lawyer Seymour Amster said that while Franklin faces 10 counts of murder and one count of attempted murder, prosecutors have also indicated there are six additional murder charges that could be brought up in the penalty phase.

Police back in November linked Franklin to as many as 18 murders in Southern California between 1985 to 1988 and 2002 to 2007, with a 14-year interval between slayings that led to the “Grim Sleeper” moniker.

But with another half-dozen charges against Franklin potentially looming, Amster said the court must consider the financial expense to taxpayers before it proceeds with the trial.

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“We believe that it’s in the best interests for all charges to be brought into one case, we think it makes the most sense for judicial economy,” said Amster. “These are tough times for taxpayers.”

He also suggested that an augmented filing could constitute double jeopardy for Franklin — an assessment that the district attorney’s office immediately rejected.

“I believe the counsel’s arguments are contrary to law with respect to double jeopardy, and I’ll leave it at that,” said deputy district attorney Beth Silverman.

Prosecutors said they had not received copies of the motion and declined to argue it, but they did indicate a belief that the arguments were groundless.

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The matter will be revisited when hearings resume on April 17.