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Search of Grim Sleeper suspect's home yields firearms, handcuffs, porn movies, ski mask

July 15, 2010 |  6:25 pm

Los Angeles police confiscated hundreds of items from the house and vehicles of accused serial killer Lonnie David Franklin Jr. after his arrest last week, including firearms and ammunition, handcuffs, car seats possibly stained with bodily fluids, and pornographic photos and videos, according to court records reviewed by The Times.

“We still have a lot of work to do,” said Det. Paul Coulter, one of the leading investigators on the case. “Phase one is over. Now it’s on to phase two, learning everything we can about him.”

Coulter said more than 650 items have been booked into evidence. The items taken ranged from the mundane to unusual, according to an itemized list police filed with court officials Thursday.

Along with a few hundred dollars, identification cards and a brown paper bag, police also found a LAPD officer’s notepad on top of a cabinet in Franklin’s house, as well as a flier about a person that had disappeared in the area. They also took a ski mask that had been hanging on the wall of the garage, mattress covers, a pair of gloves, and several pornographic videos and photographs.

None of the items taken have immediately tied Franklin to the killings, police have said, although they emphasized that DNA tests, ballistic tests and other examination of the items was continuing.

Police took samples of fabric from the front passenger seats of at least two of the four vehicles belonging to Franklin and family members, according to the court filing.

The tests are significant because bullet trajectory tests and information from one woman who is thought to have survived an attack by Franklin have led police to believe Franklin shot and then sexually assaulted several of his victims while they sat in the front seat of his car.

Coulter declined to comment on specific items, citing the continuing investigation.

Franklin, 57, has been charged with killing 10 women over a period that spanned more than two decades. He has been held without bail since his arrest July 7, which came after undercover officers surreptitiously collected a sample of his DNA that authorities say matched evidence found at several of the crime scenes. If convicted, Franklin could face the death penalty.

The former city sanitation worker and LAPD garage attendant allegedly murdered seven young African American women between 1985 and 1988 in the impoverished and violent neighborhoods of South L.A. He resurfaced in the same area 14 years later, striking three more times and with the last killing coming in 2007, according to police.

Authorities said they have linked Franklin to the killings through a combination of DNA and ballistics evidence. Investigators are reviewing dozens of other unsolved murder cases from the long period when Franklin was apparently dormant and the years when he was active for indications he was the killer. LAPD Chief Charlie Beck has said that he expects Franklin will eventually be tied to more victims.

With no DNA evidence in the other cases police are examining, Coulter said ballistic tests on several small-caliber handguns taken from Franklin’s house and a motor home could provide crucial evidence linking him to other killings.

--Andrew Blankstein and Joel Rubin

Photo: (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times / July 8, 2010) LAPD's Dennis Kilcoyne, lead detective in the Grim Sleeper serial-killer case, stands above an age progression of mug shots of suspect Lonnie David Franklin Jr.

FULL COVERAGE OF THE GRIM SLEEPER CASE:

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