Unidentified DNA was found on the body of a Grim Sleeper victim, defense says

Lonnie Franklin Jr.

Lonnie Franklin Jr. enters the courtroom early in his murder trial. Franklin is charged with the so-called Grim Sleeper killings that terrorized South L.A. over more than two decades.

(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

The DNA of an unknown male was found on the body of one of the 10 victims of the so-called Grim Sleeper serial killer, a DNA analyst hired by the defense team testified Thursday. 

According to the testimony, the unidentified DNA found on the body of Lachrica Jefferson, 22, was in addition to DNA that matched the profile of Lonnie Franklin Jr., who is on trial in a downtown courtroom. 

Prosecutors allege that Franklin committed the grisly killings over more than two decades.

Franklin, 63, faces 10 counts of murder in the slayings of nine women and a 15-year-old girl. He also faces one count of attempted murder.


The former Los Angeles Police Department garage attendant has pleaded not guilty.

Defense attorney Seymour Amster has attacked forensic and ballistic evidence presented by the prosecution that ties Franklin to the killings.

In his opening statement, Amster said the defense would present evidence that DNA belonging to other people was found at some of the crime scenes, on victims’ clothing and on their bodies — apparently suggesting that men other than Franklin could have been involved in the deaths.

On Thursday, Matthew Pettis, a forensic specialist for Sorenson Forensics, a private laboratory in Utah, testified for the defense that there were several instances in which DNA belonging to an unknown male was found on Jefferson’s body. Franklin’s DNA was also found on the body, Pettis said.


Earlier in the trial, Cristina Gonzalez, a criminalist with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, testified that DNA evidence found on Jefferson matched Franklin’s DNA profile. Jefferson was found dead of two gunshot wounds in L.A.'s Westmont neighborhood in 1988.

Prosecutors say that each of the 10 slain victims is connected to Franklin by DNA evidence, ballistics or both. In all, Franklin’s DNA was found on seven of 11 victims — 10 who were killed and another who survived, prosecutors have said. 

A gun found in Franklin’s home was used to shoot one of the victims, according to court testimony. Police criminalists testified that bullets from seven victims — six who were killed and the one who survived — were fired from the same weapon.

Franklin’s DNA was on the bodies of three of those victims, according to previous testimony.

For more on the Grim Sleeper trial, follow @sjceasar

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