06-19-2018  3:17 pm      •     
The Skanner Report
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NEWS BRIEFS

Community Forum: How Does Law Enforcement Interact With Vulnerable Populations?

Forum will focus on public safety and examine mental health and addiction issues ...

King County Council Recognizes Juneteenth

The Metropolitan King County Council recognizes a true 'freedom day' in the United States ...

Unite Oregon Hosts ‘Mourn Pray Love, and Take Action’ June 20

Community is invited to gather at Terry Schrunk Plaza at 6 p.m. on World Refugee Day ...

MRG Foundation Announces Spring 2018 Grantees

Recipients include Oregon DACA Coalition, Kúkátónón Children’s African Dance Troupe, Komemma Cultural Protection Association ...

CareOregon Awards $250,000 for Housing Projects

Recipients include Rogue Retreat, Bridges to Change, Luke Dorf, Transition Projects and Bridge Meadows ...

Colorado to adopt California's stricter car pollution rules

DENVER (AP) — Colorado's governor on Tuesday ordered his state to adopt California's vehicle pollution rules, joining other states in resisting the Trump administration's plans to ease up on emission standards.Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper told state regulators begin writing rules that...

Protesters on round-the-clock vigil at Oregon ICE facility

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A small group of protesters has set up camp outside the Portland, Oregon headquarters of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to protest the Trump administration's policy of separating families after illegal border crossings.About two dozen protesters gathered...

Woman shot to death in Snohomish-area home, man arrested

SNOHOMISH, Wash. (AP) — Authorities say 45-year-old woman was shot to death northeast of Seattle in her Snohomish-area home and a man believed to be her husband has been arrested.The Seattle Times reports a man called 911 around 9 p.m. Monday and reported that someone had been hurt in his...

Colorado to adopt California's stricter car pollution rules

DENVER (AP) — Colorado's governor on Tuesday ordered his state to adopt California's vehicle pollution rules, joining other states in resisting the Trump administration's plans to ease up on emission standards.Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper told state regulators begin writing rules that...

OPINION

Juneteenth: Freedom's Promise Still Denied

Juneteenth is a celebration of the de facto end of slavery, but the proliferation of incarceration keeps liberation unfulfilled ...

What Happened? Assessing the Singapore Summit

For all its weaknesses, we are better off having had the summit than not ...

Redlining Settlement Fails to Provide Strong Penalties

A recent settlement of a federal redlining lawsuit is yet another sign that justice is still being denied ...

5 Lessons on Peace I Learned from My Cat Soleil

Dr. Jasmine Streeter takes some cues on comfort from her cat ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Lawsuit: Chicago police falsely ID thousands as gang members

CHICAGO (AP) — Civil rights group filed a lawsuit Tuesday alleging that the Chicago Police Department relies on an error-plagued database that names up to 195,000 people as gang members, including many who have never been in a gang.Many people were erroneously listed in the database simply...

Bucks' Sterling Brown sues Milwaukee over stun-gun arrest

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Milwaukee Bucks guard Sterling Brown sued the city of Milwaukee and its police department Tuesday, saying officers' use of a stun gun during his arrest for a parking violation constitutes excessive force and that they targeted him because he is black.Brown's attorney Mark...

Lawsuit claims Kansas official exposed private voter data

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A civil rights group filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday against Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach challenging a multi-state voter registration database it claims exposed sensitive information including partial Social Security numbers from nearly a thousand state...

ENTERTAINMENT

CBS' '60 Minutes' gathers audience week by week

NEW YORK (AP) — The newsmagazine "60 Minutes" was not television's most popular program this year, but for the 11th consecutive season it had more people who watched at least once during the year than any other non-sports show on TV.The Nielsen company's cumulative measurement of programs...

Film Review: 'The King' is guilty of an Elvis crime- excess

It's usually a bad sign when critics start questioning your film before it's even finished. But director Eugene Jarecki had to endure worse. While making the documentary "The King," he actually got gruff from a member of his own film crew.After a car breaks down, Jarecki takes the opportunity to...

Birthplace of singer, activist Nina Simone to be preserved

TRYON, N.C. (AP) — The dilapidated wooden cottage in North Carolina that was the birthplace of singer and civil rights activist Nina Simone now has the protection of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.The trust said in a news release Tuesday that it will develop and find a new use...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Lawyer: Police think slaying of XXXTentacion was random

DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla. (AP) — The lawyer for slain rapper XXXTentacion said Tuesday that detectives believe...

Trump raises risk of economically harmful US-China trade war

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States and China edged closer Tuesday to triggering the riskiest trade war in...

Meat 2.0? Clean meat? Spat shows the power of food wording

NEW YORK (AP) — If meat is grown in a lab without slaughtering animals, what should it be called?That...

Merkel says climate change is 'a fact,' laments US stance

BERLIN (AP) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel took aim Tuesday at U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to...

Blurring the border, Turkey deepens roots in northern Syria

AL-BAB, Syria (AP) — A newly paved road links the Turkish town of Elbeyli to the Syrian town of al-Bab,...

London police say short circuit caused minor subway blast

LONDON (AP) — A battery short circuit caused a small explosion at a London Underground station that injured...

BRIAN MELLEY and AMANDA LEE MYERS, Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A former Los Angeles trash collector was convicted Thursday of 10 counts of murder in the "Grim Sleeper" serial killings that targeted poor, young black women over two decades.

Lonnie Franklin Jr. showed no emotion as the verdicts were read and family members who had wondered if they would ever see justice quietly wept and dabbed their eyes with tissues in the gallery.

"We got him," exclaimed Porter Alexander Jr., whose daughter Alicia, 18, was shot and choked. Her body was found under a mattress in an alley in September 1988. "It took a long time. By the grace of God it happened. It's such a relief."

Prosecutors will seek the death penalty during the second phase of trial scheduled to start May 12.

Franklin, 63, was also was found guilty of one count of attempted murder for shooting a woman in the chest and dumping her body from his orange Ford Pinto two months after Alexander's killing. The survivor, Enietra Washington, provided a link to seven previous slayings and was a key witness at trial.

The killings from 1985 to 2007 were dubbed the work of the "Grim Sleeper" because of an apparent 14-year gap after Washington's shooting, though prosecutors now think he never rested and there were other victims during that span.

The crimes went unsolved for decades and community members complained that police ignored the victims because of their race and the fact some were prostitutes and drug users.

Much of the violence unfolded during the nation's crack cocaine epidemic when at least two other serial killers prowled the area then known as South Central.

The 10 victims, including a 15-year-old girl, were fatally shot or strangled and dumped in alleys and garbage bins. Most had traces of cocaine in their systems.

The cases were reopened after the last killing when a task force was assigned to revisit cases dozens of officers failed to solve in the 1980s. The team compiled ballistics evidence and DNA testing that hadn't been available at the time of the first killings.

Franklin, a onetime trash collector in the area and a garage attendant for the Los Angeles Police Department, had been hiding in plain sight, said Deputy District Attorney Beth Silverman.

He was connected to the crimes after DNA from a son, collected after a felony arrest, showed similarities to genetic material left on the bodies of many of the victims.

An officer posing as a busboy retrieved pizza crusts and napkins with Franklin's DNA while he was celebrating at a birthday party.

It proved a match with material found on the breasts and clothing of many of the women and on the zip tie of a trash bag that held the curled-up body of the final victim, Janecia Peters. She was found Jan. 1, 2007, by someone rifling through a dumpster who noticed her red fingernails through a hole in the bag.

Silverman described the victims as sisters, daughters and mothers who suffered frailties but had hopes and dreams.

She projected photos of the 10 women from happier days, many smiling from headshots that captured their youth and hairstyles of the times. The images were in stark contrast to gory crime scene and autopsy photos also displayed of half-naked bodies sprawled among garbage — images that made family members wince, weep and recoil.

Samara Herard, the sister of the youngest victim, Princess Berthomieux, said there were things she didn't want to see during the trial and had to hold her head down at times, but was elated with the verdict.

"I wanted to remember the sweet little girl who had her whole life in front of her," Herard said. "She had a heart of gold and she deserved to live a full life."

Defense lawyer Seymour Amster challenged what he called "inferior science" of DNA and ballistics evidence. During his closing argument, he introduced a new theory: a "mystery man with a mystery gun and mystery DNA" was responsible for all the killings. He said the man was a "nephew" of Franklin's who was jealous because his uncle had better luck with women, though he offered no supporting evidence or any name.

Amster based the theory on the testimony of the sole known survivor, Washington, who crawled to safety after being shot in Franklin's flashy Pinto. She testified that her assailant said he had to stop at his "uncle's house" for money before the attack.

Silverman scoffed at the "mystery nephew" notion, saying it was as rational an explanation as a space ship dropping from the sky and killing the women. She said Franklin had lied to Washington and was probably stopping at his house to get his gun.

Washington later led police to Franklin's street, but not his house.

The attack fit the pattern of other killings and showed how the killer carried out the crimes, Silverman said. The bullet removed from Washington's chest came from the same gun used to shoot the seven previous victims and she provided a detail that would later prove telling.

Washington described how her attacker took a Polaroid photo of her as she was losing consciousness. Police searching Franklin's house more than two decades later found a snapshot of the wounded Washington slouched over in a car with a breast exposed.

The Polaroid was hidden behind a wall in his garage.

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