Low Country Man Convicted of Murder as Teen Given Retrial - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

05/12/04

Low Country Man Convicted of Murder as Teen Given Retrial

Christopher Franklin has spent 14 years behind bars for killing his father and stepmother. Today, he's back in court. Franklin was just 15 at the time when he was sentenced to life for the murder. Now, he'll have another chance to prove his innocence.

In 1990, a jury convicted Franklin on two counts of murder for shooting and killing 39-year-old Ronnie Lee Franklin and 38-year-old Vicky Franklin at their Bluffton home on April 29 of that year. Franklin is back on trial for their murders after a judge granted Franklin post-conviction relief.

The prosecution started off the day by calling Franklin's younger brother, John, to the stand. He took the stand and told the jury about that tragic day. "We sat down at the bar to eat dinner," he testified. "Ronnie went down the hall to get Chris. Chris came out of the bathroom, shot Ronnie in the hallway. Ronnie fell half in our bedroom and half in the hallway."

John testified Christopher then shot his mother. "I just hear grunts from Vicky. Obviously when he was hitting her with the gun. I heard a gunshot then grunts from her."

John testified Christopher then sent him and his twin brother Jeff into the bedroom. "He's got a gun moving in between us and he's telling us he didn't hurt us because he loved us and for us to quit crying and for us to stay there and then he left."

Florence police officer Lt. Samuel Tony testified they found Christopher in a hotel and he confessed to the murders, saying a fight with his mother started the gunfire. "He explained to me that him and his stepmother did not get along and that his father would always take his stepmother's side," Tony said.

The state has rested its case and the defense is expected to begin tomorrow.

Reported by: Jaime Dailey, jdailey@wtoc.com

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