Trial begins for 2016 stabbing of Effingham Co. Sheriff Deputy

Franklin Hope Johnson is charged with attempted murder & aggravated assault
Published: May. 25, 2022 at 5:37 PM EDT
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EFFINGHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - the trial for an Effingham County man who stabbed a Sheriff’s Deputy back in 2016 is now underway.

It was in March of that year when Sgt. Danny Harrington and three other Effingham County Sheriff’s Deputies went to pick up then 23-year-old Franklin Johnson on a court order.

But once there Johnson stabbed Sgt. Harrington in his neck and head.

Now more than six years later Johnson is on trail facing charges of attempted murder, aggravated assault and more.

Franklin Johnson’s trial isn’t based on what happened on that day in March of 2016.

“There is no question of the facts that Franklin came out with a knife and stabbed Danny on the porch,” said Johnson’s defense attorney.

But rather the state of mind Johnson was in when he stabbed Effingham County Sheriff’s Deputy Sgt. Danny Harrington.

“I just remember thinking this is it,” said Sgt. Harrington.

The state making their case early, calling on three witnesses who were with Sgt. Harrington that day.

“From the information I was given his family called for the 10-13 because he was bad off on drugs and they couldn’t handle him,” said Deputy Matt Smith.

A copy of the 10-13, which is a probate court order to pick up individuals for either drug, alcohol or mental health reasons and transport them to the hospital, shows Johnson’s grandmother requested it due to drug use, but the defense argues that wasn’t the case.

In fact they claim Sheriff’s Deputies told the GBI, who was investigating the incident it was., “due to mental incapacity.”

Questioning the deputies training to be able to tell the difference.

“Had you ever taken a course on how to deal with a mentally ill people when you arrest them? Yes or no?” Questioned the defense attorney

Claiming they had no evidence, “Franklin Hope Johnson was under the influence of any drugs on March the 18 of 2016 when this occurred?”

“No sir,” responded Deputy Tony Monte.

However, not only did the prosecution lean on the fact Johnson’s own grandmother filed the 10-13 for drug use, but they claim his actions were that of someone who knew what they were doing.

“By the time that door opened I was impacted on the right side of my head. I thought I’d been shot. There was no way he was anywhere but standing right there,” said Sgt. Harrington.

They believe he was waiting on the Sgt. to get to the door, planning his attack.

“Did you even have a chance to talk or speak with this defendant?” Asked the Prosecution.

“No, there was no time,” responded Deputy Smith.

Leaving the jury to sort out the details and decide if the screams heard that day were that of someone on drugs or someone not in their right mind.

This is just day one of one of the trial.

You can stay with WTOC for the latest.

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