'Grim Sleeper' suspect's attorney criticizes LAPD

Defense attorney for Lonnie Franklin Jr. slams LAPD: 'Officials who have the duty to uphold the Constitution have forgotten the basics' in sensationalism

Associated Press

LOS ANGELES — The attorney for a mechanic accused of the "Grim Sleeper" serial killings criticized Los Angeles police for releasing photographs of women seized at the suspect's home.

In a statement to ABC News, Louisa Pensanti said the photos include family and friends of suspect Lonnie Franklin Jr. who are now under intense public and police scrutiny. She also said investigators' comments at a recent news conference were "a deliberate tainting of public opinion and the jury pool," ABC reported Saturday.

"Sadly, the public officials who have the duty to uphold the Constitution have forgotten the basics in their desire for sensationalism and are jeopardizing Lonnie Franklin's chance for a fair trial," Pensanti said. She did not immediately return a call from The Associated Press.

LAPD spokeswoman Norma Eisenman said investigators could not immediately be reached for comment.

Last week, police released the photos of about 160 women in the hopes of finding out who they are and if anything happened to them.

Police said they've received hundreds of calls. Several callers told investigators they were among the women in the photographs, but police must interview them individually to be sure.

Franklin is accused of killing 10 women beginning in 1985, and he has pleaded not guilty. The photos and videos were found in Franklin's home and garage during a search after his July arrest. None of the photos depicted the alleged victims.

Investigators spent years trying to crack the case. Franklin's arrest finally came after his son was swabbed for DNA after being arrested on an unrelated matter, and the sample connected the father to evidence from the killings.

Copyright 2010 Associated Press

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