Prosecutors to seek death in 'Grim Sleeper' trial

Lonnie David Franklin Jr.
Lonnie Franklin Jr. appears for an arraignment on multiple charges as the alleged "Grim Sleeper" killer, in Los Angeles Superior Court, on Aug. 23, 2010. Prosecutors plan to announce they will seek the death penalty against Franklin,  for 10 murders and one attempted murder.Nick Ut / AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

Prosecutors said Monday they will seek the death penalty against a man accused of the "Grim Sleeper" serial killings.

Deputy District Attorney Beth Silverman told a court her office will ask a jury for the state's harshest sentence if 58-year-old Lonnie Franklin Jr. is convicted.

Franklin has pleaded not guilty to the murders of 10 women and one count of attempted murder.

Most of the victims linked to the "Grim Sleeper" were found in alleyways within a few miles of Franklin's home south of downtown Los Angeles. Those victims were shot, strangled or both, usually after some kind of sexual contact. Several were prostitutes.

The killings got their name because of a long gap between some of the deaths, which began in the 1980s and extended into the 2000s.

Franklin, a mechanic, was arrested in July 2010 and indicted.

Police have also been investigating him in connection with other murders.

Prosecutors were granted the right to take a voice sample from Franklin. Outside court they said they want to compare it to the voice heard on two 911 calls.

Outside court, Detective Dennis Kilcoyne spoke to a group of relatives of victims and said the death penalty is "almost a non-issue" in California because it takes so long for convicts to be executed.

"In 20 to 25 years, when it comes up, many of us won't be on this planet anymore," he said.