Grim Sleeper defense says DNA in some cases points to another suspect

By Marisa Gerber / LA Times
December 14, 2014

grim sleeper dnaSince Los Angeles police first announced that they had made an arrest in the hunt for the so-called Grim Sleeper serial killer, the case involving the slayings of more than 10 women has centered around DNA.

Genetic evidence at the crime scenes helped investigators conclude they had a single killer. Authorities say tests matched the DNA profile to one man: Lonnie Franklin Jr.

But now Franklin’s attorneys are also making use of DNA, alleging that genetic material from another man was found on items collected at the crime scenes of three of the victims linked to their client.

“What role that person plays, we don’t know,” said defense lawyer Seymour Amster, who filed a 16-page motion last week detailing a defense expert’s finding about the new DNA profile. “But we believe he stands in the same equal status as Lonnie.”

Authorities say Franklin preyed on poor and vulnerable girls and women whose deaths spanned more than two decades beginning in 1985. He faces 10 counts of murder and one of attempted murder, but investigators believe he is responsible for more killings. Many of the victims were found along a South L.A. corridor straddling Western Avenue, and prosecutors contend that a combination of DNA and ballistics evidence links him to the crimes.

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