A grand jury indictment accusing "Grim Sleeper" serial-killer suspect Lonnie Franklin Jr. with the murders of 10 women was returned Wednesday and unsealed today. What that means is that the case can proceed to trial.
While Franklin had already been charged with 10 murders and one attempted murder, the grand jury can fast track the case. The D.A.'s office:
Although the case was filed nearly a year ago, there never was a date scheduled for a preliminary hearing of the evidence, which would have been the next stage of the proceedings. At a preliminary hearing, a judge determines if there is sufficient evidence for a felony defendant to stand trial.
The indictment returned Wednesday afternoon by the Los Angeles County Grand Jury following a little more than six-day hearing supercedes the criminal complaint and moves the case directly to trial.
Franklin was arrested July 7 at his South Los Angeles home, blocks, sometimes closer, from where many of the victims' bodies were found.
Authorities alleged he had been on a spree since 1985, although a lack of killings during the 1990s inspired the Weekly to dub whoever the killer was the "Grim Sleeper."
Over the winter police released photos of 180 women they said were found at Franklin's home in an effort to determine if any were possible yet-to-be known "Grim Sleeper" victims.
Franklin, jailed without bail, is due in Superior Court downtown for a pretrial hearing April 4.