D. Franklin Jr-The attorney for Grim Sleeper serial killer suspect Lonnie Franklin Jr. criticized Los Angeles police for releasing scores of photos of women found in Franklin’s possession.
Mr. Franklin is accused of killing seven black women between 1985 and 1988 and three others between 2002 and 2007. Mr. Franklin, who was arrested in July 2010, has pleaded not guilty to the charges and remains in jail.
In a statement, Louisa Pensanti complained that the photos were not part of discovery in Frankin’s case and that some of the images were of Franklin’s family and friends.
“The photographs include members and friends of the Franklin family, all now subject to the intense scrutiny of the public as well as the police,” she wrote.
An LAPD source told The Times that detectives had asked Franklin’s family to review the photos before they were publicly released so that ones of his family and friends could be removed. But the source said officials got not no reply to their requests. It’s unclear whether Pensanti has now asked that any photos specifically be removed.
The LAPD was inundated with hundreds of phone calls, e-mails and other tips a day after detectives released photographs of the unidentified women found in a trailer belonging to Franklin, who has pleaded not guilty to 10 killings in South L.A.
“The information coming in is voluminous,” said Det. Dennis Kilcoyne, who headed the task force that searched for the killer. Officers, he said, have fielded “hundreds upon hundreds” of phone calls, as well as e-mails and text messages that flooded in through various hotlines and online accounts the department uses.
When Franklin, who is accused of sexually assaulting and murdering 10 African American women in South L.A., was arrested in July, authorities found a disturbing trove of about 1,000 photographs and hundreds of hours of video of women. Some of the images appeared to be innocent snapshots, but most showed the women in various states of undress and striking sexual poses.
Fearing that some of the women could be additional victims, detectives set out to identify them. Some of the material dated back to the 1980s and included video and digital camera images, Polaroids, conventional prints and even undeveloped film. The LAPD estimates that it is trying to identify about 160 people.
In her statement, Pensanti took issue with some comments made by public officials at the press conference releasing the photos. She was not specific but said: “The comments concluding guilt made by public officials during the press conference appear to be a deliberate tainting of public opinion and the jury pool.”
The statement, first reported by ABC News, continued: “Sadly, the public officials who have the Duty to uphold the Constitution have forgotten the basics in their desire for sensationalism and are jeopardizing Lonnie Franklin’s chance for a fair trial.”