Grim Sleeper Unfinished Pizza

01/07/2014 1:30 pm0 commentsViews: 22
Memorial for victims of Grim Sleeper  2010 Photo by Gary McCarthy

Memorial for victims of Grim Sleeper 2010
Photo by Gary McCarthy

By TERRI VERMEULEN KEITH
City News Service
LOS ANGELES (CNS) – The alleged “Grim Sleeper” testified today that he
did not consent to the collection or testing of DNA evidence seized by an
undercover detective posing as a bus boy at a pizza parlor, but a judge ruled
the accused serial killer had no standing to challenge what happened to the
items once he discarded them.
In brief testimony during a hearing seeking to have the DNA evidence
suppressed, Lonnie Franklin Jr. told Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Kathleen
Kennedy that he thought the items collected from him at a Buena Park restaurant
prior to his July 2010 arrest were being taken by a restaurant employee and
believed they would be “mixed with the rest of the trash.”
“Did you ever consent to your bodily fluids being tested by law
enforcement or a third party?”, defense attorney Seymour Amster asked his
client.
“No, I didn’t,” said Franklin, who is charged with the murders of 10
women between 1985 and 2007 and the attempted murder of an 11th woman.
Under cross-examination by Deputy District Attorney Beth Silverman,
Franklin acknowledged that he had a string of convictions for crimes including
battery, false imprisonment, grand theft auto and receiving stolen property.
Under questioning by the judge, the 61-year-old accused killer said he
believed the items he had used at the restaurant on July 5, 2010, were going to
be disposed of and destroyed.
The judge noted that there was no evidence that Franklin knew at that
point that he was a suspect or under surveillance, saying that he ended his
association with the items once he discarded them and “doesn’t have standing
thereafter to challenge what happened to those items.”
Franklin’s attorneys had sought to suppress the evidence that was
collected from Incredible John’s Pizza Co., where he testified that he had gone
for a church birthday party.
“They have to masquerade as a restaurant employee (to obtain the
evidence),” Amster said of Los Angeles police, arguing that his client had a
reasonable expectation that his trash would be collected by restaurant
personnel rather than law enforcement.
The defense contended that the collection of the evidence, including an
unfinished slice of pizza, a napkin and two cups, by undercover Los Angeles
police violated Franklin’s Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches
and seizures.
“From those unlawfully seized pieces of evidence, the Los Angeles
Police Department was able to obtain defendant’s DNA which allegedly matched
the samples of some victims,” anotehr of Franklin’s attorneys, Louisa Pensanti
wrote in a motion seeking suppression of the evidence.
Silverman countered that Franklin lost all potential expectation of
privacy regarding the property once he agreed to dispose of it. The prosecution
maintained that Franklin had abandoned the items.
The former city sanitation worker was arrested two days after the items
were collected and has remained jailed without bail since then.
Prosecutors announced in August 2011 that they intended to seek the
death penalty against Franklin, who is charged with killing 10 women, many of
them prostitutes, and dumping their remains in alleys and trash bins in and
around South Los Angeles, Inglewood and unincorporated county areas. Some were
raped before being shot to death with a small-caliber handgun.
The charges involve killings between 1985 and 1988, and 2002 and 2007,
with the assailant being dubbed the “Grim Sleeper” because of the apparent 13-
year break between killing sprees. Detectives have said since his arrest that
they were also investigating whether he might be connected to the disappearance
or deaths of eight other women whose photos were found in his home near 81st
Street and Harvard Boulevard.
Franklin  is due back at the downtown Los Angeles courthouse Jan. 21 for
another pretrial hearing.

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