Official: Suspected killer tied to other deaths

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Police have linked the man charged with 10 murders in the “Grim Sleeper” serial killings to a number of other deaths, a law enforcement official said Friday.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing, did not specify how many deaths police had connected to Lonnie Franklin Jr.

The Los Angeles Times reported the number as six, bringing to 16 the total number of killings authorities have linked to Franklin.

Franklin’s attorney, Louisa Pensanti, said the new allegations are false and authorities are making the allegations public in an attempt to infect the jury pool. Police are “making sure that the Los Angeles County jury pool has a belief in their mind that any unsolved murder that the police bring into our case was done by Lonnie Franklin Jr.,” she said.

Franklin has pleaded not guilty to 10 murders 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.

Franklin, a mechanic, was arrested in July 2010.

The killings got their name because of an apparent long gap between some of the deaths, which began in the 1980s and extended into the 2000s, though police now believe there was never a break in the killings.

The Times reported that three of the additional deaths were linked to Franklin through DNA or ballistic evidence and the other three were based more on circumstantial evidence, including detectives finding their belongings in Franklin’s home.

The newspaper reported that police will not immediately seek additional charges in the other killings because they don’t want to complicate the case against Franklin as it moves slowly toward trial.

District attorney spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons declined to comment.

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