'He is evil': Final arguments underway in Grim Sleeper death penalty phase

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Final arguments were underway in the death penalty phase of convicted killer Lonnie Franklin Jr., also known as the Grim Sleeper.

The prosecutor in the so-called "Grim Sleeper" trial urged the jury to show no mercy for the defendant, 63-year old Lonnie Franklin Jr., during final arguments on Thursday.

"He is a prolific serial killer. And he is evil," Deputy District Attorney Beth Silverman, who pushed for the death penalty, said.

The jury already convicted the former mechanic and sanitation worker in the murder of nine women and a 13-year old girl. In the current penalty phase, the panel saw evidence that the South Los Angeles resident also raped a woman when he was 22 years old and killed four additional women.

His crime spree went on for more than 33 years.

"He embarked... on a reign of terror over decades in his own community. He terrorized his own community. Who does that," asked the prosecutor before the jury.

During jury selection, the members of the panel told the court they would not hold back on condemning Franklin to death if their findings supported execution.

Throughout the trial, defense attorney Seymour Amster focused on lingering doubt. Testimony from defense witnesses suggested another person could have been involved in the crimes, though no one else was identified through DNA evidence.

Silverman listed aggravating factors that emerged in the trial that lasted more than three months. She called Franklin violent, a sexual predator, and he remorseless said he purposely demeaned his victims even further by dumping the bodies in the filth of South L.A. alleys.

On a giant screen, the jury viewed photos of the victims beaming in happier days. The images contrasted with grisly scenes of their dead bodies.

In the gallery, loved ones bowed their heads and wept. The wounds opened once more. The families' pain unceasing.

"These people will go on living. They will go on living with that constant void in their lives, for the rest of their lives," said Silverman to the jury.

The defense summation will begin on Friday. Jury deliberations were expected to begin Friday afternoon.
Related Topics:
newsserial killermurdertrialDowntown LALos AngelesSouth Los Angeles
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