The wait is almost over for families of 10 women murdered in Inglewood and South Los Angeles within a span of more than two decades. Jury selection is expected to begin on June 30 in the trial of accused serial killer Lonnie David Franklin Jr.
It has been 30 years since the women first began missing. Families of the victims have gone to pretrial after pretrial and endured repeated court delays.
County Superior Court Judge Kathleen Kennedy said she was eager to get the trial started.
Franklin, 63, is charged with killing nine women, who were mostly in their 20s, and a 15-year-old girl. Their bodies were dumped in alleys and trash bins. He is also charged with the attempted murder of another woman, Enietra Washington, who survived being shot in the chest and pushed out of a moving vehicle.
Among the victims is Princess Berthomieux, 15, who was strangled and discovered nude in an alley in Inglewood on March 19, 2002.
According to an article in the Los Angeles Weekly, (June 11, 2006), Berthomieux was “a runaway from Hawthorne who had been in and out of foster homes and was working as a prostitute when she was murdered.” She had last been seen by her family on Dec. 21, 2001, police said.
DNA and firearms evidence has linked Franklin to what is called the “Grim Sleeper” serial killings, aptly named because of an apparent 13-year break in the crime spree, which occurred between 1985 and 1988, and 2002 and 2007.
The killings began during the crack cocaine epidemic in the 1980s. All of the victims were African American females, whose bodies were dumped. Most were either shot in the chest or strangled. Some were addicted to crack cocaine and involved in prostitution. The crack epidemic presented a “perfect opportunity for someone who preyed on women,” a prosecutor said.
Franklin is charged with murdering nine others in addition to Berthomieux: Debra Jackson, 29; Henrietta Wright, 34; Barbara Ware, 23; Bernita Sparks, 26; Mary Lowe, 26; Lachrica Jefferson, 22; Alicia Alexander, 18; Valerie McCorvey, 35; and Janecia Peters, 25.
Franklin denied having contact with any of the victims. He has been in jail since his arrest on July 7, 2010.