'Grim Sleeper' suspect pleads not guilty

The South Los Angeles auto mechanic charged in the “Grim Sleeper” killings pleaded “not guilty” Monday to 10 murder charges and a charge of attempted murder at a Superior Court hearing in downtown L.A.

The “not guilty” pleas were entered not by 57-year-old Lonnie Franklin, Jr. — but by his attorney. Franklin spoke only in response to a handful of procedural questions. He wore an orange jail jumpsuit with his hands shackled to his waist.

The “Grim Sleeper” murders began in the 1980s — and resumed a few years ago. Prosecutors say detectives with the LAPD’s “cold case” unit used “familial DNA” to link Franklin to the killings. They say DNA collected at one of the murders was a close match to that of Franklin’s son; his DNA was on file after an arrest.

It led detectives to Franklin, who police took into custody last month. After the arraignment, defense attorney Louisa Pensanti said the prosecution has handed over 8,000 pages of documents to her legal team. She said the evidence is not “cut and dried.”

Franklin will be back in court in three weeks for another hearing. Prosecutors haven’t said whether they’ll seek the death penalty.

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