From the Associated Press:
LOS ANGELES — The attorney for a mechanic accused of the “Grim Sleeper” serial killings criticized Los Angeles police Saturday for releasing photographs of women seized at the suspect’s home.
Louisa Pensanti said the photos include family and friends of suspect Lonnie Franklin Jr. who are now under intense public and police scrutiny. She also said investigators’ comments at a recent news conference were “jeopardizing Lonnie Franklin’s chance for a fair trial.”
“Those are family photos,” she told The Associated Press, adding that Franklin’s relatives are upset that the photos were released publicly.
LAPD spokeswoman Norma Eisenman said investigators could not immediately be reached for comment.
Last week, police released the photos of about 160 women in the hopes of finding out who they are and if anything happened to them.
Police said they’ve received hundreds of calls. Several callers told investigators they were among the women in the photographs, but police must interview them individually to be sure.
Before the photos were released, investigators contacted Pensanti asking that Franklin’s wife come down to the police station to view the photographs, the lawyer said. When Pensanti instead requested a copy of the photos so she could review them privately, investigators refused, she said.
“There’s no reason she had to come down to the police department,” Pensanti said.
Franklin is accused of killing 10 women beginning in 1985, and he has pleaded not
guilty. The photos and videos were found in Franklin’s home and garage during a search after his July arrest. None of the photos depicted the alleged victims.
Investigators spent years trying to crack the case. Franklin’s arrest finally came after his son was swabbed for DNA after being arrested on an unrelated matter, and the sample connected the father to evidence from the killings.