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Grim Sleeper suspect, accused of killing 10 women in South L.A., will stand trial

The case against Lonnie David Franklin Jr., accused of being the Grim Sleeper serial killer, is put on an accelerated track toward trial. He was arraigned Thursday on a grand jury indictment charging him with killing 10 women.

March 25, 2011|By Joel Rubin and Andrew Blankstein, Los Angeles Times

The case against Lonnie David Franklin Jr., accused of being "The Grim Sleeper" serial killer, was put on an accelerated track toward trial Thursday, when he was arraigned on a grand jury indictment charging him with killing 10 women.

Franklin, 58, was arrested in July, and prosecutors filed charges accusing him of killing the 10 women over two decades, beginning in the 1980s.

Typically, the next step in the legal proceedings would have been for prosecutors to present evidence against Franklin at a preliminary hearing to convince a judge that there was sufficient reason to order Franklin to stand trial.

Eight months after the arrest, however, the date for a preliminary hearing still had not been set. Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley opted to take a different route, turning to a grand jury.

After hearing six days of testimony by 40 witnesses, the jurors found that there was sufficient evidence against Franklin, who will now proceed directly to a criminal trial. Franklin has pleaded not guilty. A trial date was not set.

Franklin is accused of killing seven women between 1985 and 1988 and three between 2002 and 2007 — all in South Los Angeles.

The long gap between the two periods earned the killer the nickname "The Grim Sleeper," from the LA Weekly, although police have been skeptical that the slayings stopped during the 13-year gap.

joel.rubin@latimes.com

andrew.blankstein@latimes.com

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