On Monday, the defense in the trial of Lonnie Franklin Jr., the alleged Grim Sleeper serial killer accused of murdering ten women in Los Angeles over a 23-year beginning in 1984, began opening statements.
Defense attorney Seymour Amster tried to debunk the prosecution’s evidence, telling the jury that many of the victims had DNA from other males on their bodies and clothing. One of the victims, Princess Berthomieux, had DNA from a “minimum of three contributors” under her fingernails, Amster said.
“At least two of the contributors were male and Lonnie Franklin was excluded as a source found underneath her fingernails,” said Amster of Berthomieux, 15, who was found strangled in an alley in 2002.
The 63-year-old married father of two and former LAPD mechanic and city sanitation worker faces the death penalty for his alleged murder spree. He has pleaded not guilty.
Defense Witness Discusses Survivor Enietra Washington
On Monday afternoon, the jury heard testimony from Lynda Lewis, a defense witness and a friend of survivor Enietra Washington, who survived an alleged murder attempt by Franklin and previously testified for the prosecution.
Lewis testified that she and her husband were returning home from a party around 2:30 a.m. in November of 1988 when she found Washington lying in a fetal position on her porch.
Washington told her she had been shot and raped and pleaded with her to call an ambulance. She told Lewis, “Please don’t let me die.”
Lewis told the jury that Washington initially informed her that one man sexually assaulted her but later said two men were responsible for the attack.
“In the beginning she said ‘he’ and afterwards she said ‘they,'” said Lewis. “She mentioned ‘they’ wouldn t let her out of the car.”
Washington testified last month that Franklin allegedly shot her, sexually assaulted her, and took a Polaroid picture of her before pushing her out of his car.
Genaro Arredondo, an LAPD firearms examiner, testified that he discovered a photo of Washington behind a piece of drywall in Franklin’s garage after his arrest in July of 2010.