LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com/AP) — Lonnie Franklin Jr., the accused serial killer in the “Grim Sleeper” trial, stared straight ahead, not looking at the jury nor his attorney while the defense began to present its case.
The 63-year-old former garage attendant and sanitation worker is charged with the murders of nine women and a 15-year-old girl as well as the attempted murder of a woman, who survived the attack.READ MORE: Kempe's Two Goals Help Put Kings Over Oilers, 5-1
Franklin’s attorney, Seymour Amster, told the jury one of the first defense witnesses will be a woman who spoke to that victim after she was shot and left for dead.
Amster said during his opening statement that the woman repeatedly said after the attack “they raped me,” explaining that she “used the word ‘they’ and not a single person.”
Amster told jurors that many victims had DNA on their bodies from as many as five male contributors, and many samples didn’t match Franklin.
“There was other DNA found that was not associated with the defendant,” said Amster. He said he also would dispute firearm analysis being used as evidence against his client.
In her opening statement last month, Prosecutor Beth Silverman told jurors that Franklin’s DNA was connected to a number of the victims and that all the cases were either linked through DNA or firearms evidence.
Earlier Monday, there were fireworks before the jury was called into the courtroom after the defense team said it planned to call a couple of surprise witnesses.READ MORE: Woman Found Shot To Death In South LA, Shooting Suspect Still At-Large
“This is a trial by ambush,” Silverman told Judge Kathleen Kennedy, which led to a heated exchange between the defense attorney and the judge.
The 10 victims in the case were between 15 and 35 years old. Their bodies were dumped in alleys and garbage bins in south Los Angeles, some naked, some covered with mattresses and trash. Most had been shot in the chest after some type of sexual contact, others strangled.
Autopsies showed all but one had cocaine in their systems. Some had turned to prostitution.
Silverman told jurors that Franklin took advantage of the crack cocaine epidemic in south Los Angeles, targeting women “willing to sell their bodies and their souls in order to gratify their dependency on this powerful drug.”
The Grim Sleeper nickname was coined because of an apparent 14-year gap in the murders between 1988 and 2002.
Police have dueling theories about the gap. Some think the killings stopped after one intended victim survived in 1988, scaring off the attacker. Other investigators believe there were more victims but their bodies just weren’t found.
If convicted, Franklin could face the death penalty.MORE NEWS: Man Found Dead In Dumpster In South Los Angeles
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