LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A trial date was set Friday in the case of the “Grim Sleeper” suspect.
Victims’ families went before a judge to request a speedy trial for Lonnie Franklin Jr., who is charged with 10 counts of murder and one count of attempted murder for serial killings that spanned two decades.
Prosecutors cited Marsy’s Law, a voter-approved victims’ bill of rights that extends the right to a speedy trial — guaranteed for defendants — to family members of victims. More than a dozen people emotionally testified during a pre-trial hearing after the case has run into a series of delays.
“You shot me and left me for dead. I don’t know what happened to me. I know what I woke up to. But I know it’s you,” victim Eietra Washington said, addressing Frankin in court.
“If the death penalty gets reenacted — which I think is what they are probably waiting for — I’ll be dead too,” a victim’s relative, Diana Ware, added. “…We have lost two mothers of these victims already. I am not a young person myself.”
Franklin, 62, was arrested in July 2010 after his DNA was connected to more than a dozen crime scenes. Officials had already linked the crimes to each other, but didn’t have a suspect until a crime lab computer traced the sample to one of Franklin’s family members.
He pleaded not guilty to the shootings and strangulations that occurred from 1985 to 2007. The “Grim Sleeper” nickname was coined because of the gap between slayings in 1988 and 2002.
His attorney said Friday the evidence in the case was the source of the delay in setting a trial date.
“These are time consuming situations,” defense attorney Seymour Amster said.
“We found common DNA on multiple victims. And as such we filed a motion to request addition testing of other items that were found at the crime scenes.”
But prosecutor Beth Silverman says more delays would only benefit the defense because key witnesses in law enforcement have retired.
“Maybe at some point the court will decide enough is enough,” she said.
The trial is scheduled to begin June 30.
This is the third time a date has been set.