“Grim Sleeper” serial killer suspect arraigned

Statement from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office:

LOS ANGELES – Lonnie David Franklin Jr., the alleged “Grim Sleeper” serial killer accused of murdering 10 victims over a more than 20-year span, was arraigned today on an indictment charging him with the killings.

“The indictment in the ‘Grim Sleeper’ case that was unsealed today in the Superior Court was necessitated by a desire to move this significant murder case forward to trial,” said District Attorney Steve Cooley in a written statement.

“The families of the victims should be accorded timely resolution of the allegations of the murders of their loved ones,” the District Attorney added.

Franklin, 58, was charged in July of last year with 10 counts of murder with the special circumstance allegation of multiple murders. He also was charged with one count of attempted “willful, deliberate and premeditated murder” in the case of an 11th victim who survived. The indictment contains the same charges.

Although the case was filed nearly a year ago, there never was a date scheduled for a preliminary hearing of the evidence, which would have been the next stage of the proceedings. At a preliminary hearing, a judge determines if there is sufficient evidence for a felony defendant to stand trial.

The indictment returned Wednesday afternoon by the Los Angeles County Grand Jury following a little more than six-day hearing supersedes the criminal complaint and moves the case directly to trial.

Franklin is accused of killing his victims – girls and women ranging in age from 14 to 36 – between August 1985 and January 2007. Most of the victims were discovered dumped in alleys and covered with debris. They were shot to death and/or strangled.

The charges make Franklin eligible for the death penalty, but the District Attorney’s office has not made a final decision on whether death or life without parole will be sought against the defendant.

Deputy District Attorney Beth Silverman of the Major Crimes Division and Deputy District Attorney Marguerite Rizzo of the Family Violence Division are prosecuting the case.

Franklin was arrested by Los Angeles Police Department Robbery-Homicide detectives after a lengthy task force investigation.

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