'Grim Sleeper' suspect pleads not guilty in Calif.

'Grim Sleeper' suspect pleads not guilty in Calif.

Published August 23, 2010

LOS ANGELES – The backyard mechanic accused of being the "Grim Sleeper" serial killer pleaded not guilty Monday to murdering 10 women and trying to kill one more person over the course of two decades.

An attorney entered the pleas for Lonnie Franklin Jr., who did not speak during his arraignment in Superior Court.

Prosecutors have not decided if they will seek the death penalty.

Franklin, 57, appeared in court dressed in an orange prison jumpsuit.

He is accused of killing the women during two periods from 1985 to 1988 and from 2002 to 2007. The 14-year pause led to the nickname "Grim Sleeper."

All the women were killed within a few miles of Franklin's home in South Los Angeles, where neighbors knew him as a talented backyard mechanic.

Police also have said they suspect Franklin of killing a man who may have discovered he was a killer. Investigators were reviewing more than 30 other cold case files to see if they can tie Franklin to other slayings.

Franklin was arrested in July after his son was arrested and swabbed for DNA. Using a technique known as a familial DNA search, the sample came back as similar to evidence in the serial killings, ultimately leading police to Franklin.

Written by THOMAS WATKINS, Associated Press Writer


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