LOS ANGELES--The case against Lonnie David Franklin Jr., charged with killing 10 women over two decades, was put on an accelerated track toward trial at his arraignment Thursday.
Franklin, 58, was arrested in July, and prosecutors filed charges accusing him of killing the 10 women over two decades, beginning in the 1980s.
Typically, the next step in the legal proceedings would have been for prosecutors to present evidence against Franklin at a preliminary hearing to convince a judge that there was sufficient reason to order Franklin to stand trial.
Eight months after the arrest, however, the date for a preliminary hearing still had not been set. District Attorney Steve Cooley instead turned to a grand jury.
After hearing six days of testimony by 40 witnesses, the grand jurors found that there was sufficient evidence against Franklin, who will now proceed directly to a criminal trial. A trial date was not set Thursday at his arraignment.
Franklin is accused of killing seven women from 1985 and 1988, and three from 2002 and 2007 -- all in South Los Angeles.
A local newspaper nicknamed the killer "The Grim Sleeper" because of the long gap between the two periods. Police, however, have been skeptical that the killings stopped during the 13-year gap.
In January, police said two women were killed in the interim in the area where the other killings occurred. Franklin was not charged in those cases.
After Franklin was charged in July, the Los Angeles Police Department LAPD said it was reviewing about 30 unsolved killings for possible connections.
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