LAPD ballistics expert defends his work in ‘Grim Sleeper’ trial

Lonnie Franklin Jr., shown in court in February, is charged with 10 counts of murder and one count of attempted murder.

Lonnie Franklin Jr., shown in court in February, is charged with 10 counts of murder and one count of attempted murder.

(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

A Los Angeles police criminalist defended his work Thursday in matching bullets used to kill six women in South Los Angeles, saying he carefully examined identical grooves in each of the rounds.

Daniel Rubin testified in the fourth week of the “Grim Sleeper” serial killer trial as a defense lawyer for the man accused of carrying out 10 murders attacked the criminalist’s work.

Attorney Seymour Amster asked whether Rubin knew of research that had raised questions about the method the criminalist followed to determine that the bullets from seven victims — six of whom were killed and one who survived — were fired from the same weapon.


Rubin testified that his methods were widely accepted in the forensic science community as the standard way of testing ballistics evidence.

Questions about the ballistics tests were raised as testimony continued in the trial of Lonnie Franklin Jr., who prosecutors allege is responsible for a series of slayings spanning more than two decades. He is charged with 10 counts of murder and the attempted murder of another woman. Franklin, 63, has pleaded not guilty.

Rubin testified Wednesday that a .25-caliber semiautomatic handgun found during a search of Franklin’s home was used to shoot 25-year-old Janecia Peters, who is believed to be the final victim of the Grim Sleeper. The gun was not the weapon used to kill the other victims, he testified.

The 2010 search of Franklin’s home in the Manchester Square area of South L.A. took place a day after police arrested Franklin outside the house. An undercover team had retrieved a discarded slice of pizza and other items to analyze his DNA, which was matched to genetic material found at some of the killings.

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Of the seven women connected by ballistics evidence, Franklin’s DNA was on at least two of the women’s bodies, according to previous testimony.

For more on the Grim Sleeper trial, follow @sjceasar



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