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L.A.'s "Grim Sleeper" suspect indicted on 10 murder counts

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Prosecutors unsealed an indictment on Thursday charging an accused serial killer dubbed the "Grim Sleeper" with murdering 10 girls and women during a Los Angeles-area crime spree that spanned three decades.

The suspect, Lonnie David Franklin Jr., 58, who worked as a neighborhood mechanic, has been jailed without bond since he was arrested outside his home on July 7, partly on the basis of DNA evidence linking him to the killings through genetic material of his son.

The indictment, returned by a grand jury on Wednesday, supersedes a criminal complaint filed against Franklin last year with the same charges -- 10 counts of murder and one count of attempted murder in the case of an 11th victim who survived.

He is accused of shooting to death or strangling seven of his victims between August 1985 and September 1988 and three others between March 2002 and January 2007. The suspect was dubbed "the Grim Sleeper" because of a gap of more than 13 years between the killing sprees.

The girls and women he attacked ranged in age from 14 to 36, and many were prostitutes. Some were raped before they were slain. Their bodies were dumped in alleys and trash bins and covered with debris.

The surviving victim was shot in the chest, raped, then pushed out of the suspect's car and left for dead in 1988.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office said in a statement it has not decided whether to seek the death penalty or life in prison without parole if he is convicted.

The indictment spares prosecutors the need for a preliminary hearing to determine whether sufficient evidence exists to take their case against Franklin to trial.

"The families of the victims should be accorded timely resolution of the allegations of the murders of their loved ones," District Attorney Steve Cooley said in a statement.

Franklin is due in court April 4 for a pre-trial hearing.

(Editing by Peter Bohan)

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