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Grim Sleeper: What you need to know as the long-awaited trial begins




Lonnie Franklin Jr., who has been charged with 10 counts of murder in what have been dubbed the
Lonnie Franklin Jr., who has been charged with 10 counts of murder in what have been dubbed the "Grim Sleeper" serial killings that spanned two decades, appears at a court hearing.
Nick Ut/AP

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Testimony began Tuesday in the much-anticipated trial of Lonnie Franklin, Jr., a.k.a. ‘The Grim Sleeper.’

He’s pleading not guilty to ten counts of first degree murder and one count of attempted murder for a spate of killings spanning more than 20 years in South Los Angeles. For years, the killings left law enforcement guessing, but advances in DNA technology over the years finally allowed investigators to make the connection that led them to Franklin.

As the trial began, prosecutors painted a picture of a man who knew South L.A.’s streets intimately, and during a time when crack cocaine was an epidemic, they say he preyed on women who had drug problems and would lure with promises of narcotics.

They showed grisly photos of several of the women Franklin allegedly killed, saying they were “dumped like trash.”

Franklin’s attorney chose not to make an opening statement on Tuesday, so it’s still unclear exactly what his defense will be.

The trial resumes on Wednesday. For more of KPCC’s coverage, click here.

Guests:

Annie Gilbertson, KPCC investigative reporter; she tweets from @AnnieGilbertson

Andrew Blankstein, investigative reporter for NBC News; former L.A. Times reporter who covered crime and the LAPD, including the Grim Sleeper case; he tweets from @anblanx