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Arraignment postponed for accused Grim Sleeper [Updated]

August 9, 2010 | 11:00 am

Arraignment for a South Los Angeles man accused of being the so-called Grim Sleeper who killed 10 women has been postponed until Aug. 23 while a new defense attorney takes over the case.

Lonnie David Franklin Jr. was due in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Monday morning to answer charges of murder and attempted murder. If convicted, he could face the death penalty.

Franklin, 57, faces charges of killing 10 women over a period spanning more than two decades. He has been held without bail since his July 7 arrest, which came after undercover officers surreptitiously collected a sample of his DNA that authorities say matched evidence found at several of the crime scenes.

The former city sanitation worker and Los Angeles Police Department garage attendant allegedly killed seven young African American women between 1985 and 1988 in South Los Angeles.

Police said he resurfaced in the same area 14 years later, striking three more times, with the most recent killing occurring in 2007.

The 14-year gap led to the killer's nickname of the Grim Sleeper.

[Updated at 12 p.m.: Franklin's new attorney is Louisa Pensanti who is taking the case pro bono, or without pay. Judge Hilleri Merritt said she did not want to interfere with the attorney-client relationship but noted that Pensanti would be taking on a case that could take two to three years to wind its way through court.

Both Franklin and Pensanti said they understood that Pensanti would be his lawyer for the duration of the case.

Pensanti, a relative unknown, declined to answer any questions outside court other than to say her client was doing fine and had the support of his family.]

-- Andrew Blankstein at L.A. County Superior Court

Photo: Lonnie Franklin Jr., 57, appears in Los Angeles Superior Court with his new attorney Louisa Pensanti on Monday. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

Click to learn more about the Grim Sleeper's victims
Learn more about the Grim Sleeper's victims on The Times interactive Homicide Report map