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Man tried in death of boy alleged to be accomplice



Published: Tue, April 18, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.



Franklin also faces charges from a shooting spree last July on the East Side.

By DEBORA SHAULIS

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

YOUNGSTOWN -- Opening statements were expected today in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court in the trial of Craig Franklin, who's charged with the murder of a 15-year-old boy last May.

Jury selection began Monday in the courtroom of Judge John M. Durkin for Franklin, 18, of Glenwood Avenue.

Franklin isn't charged with shooting Eric Farmer of St. Louis Avenue. They are alleged to have been accomplices in an attempted robbery at Atway's Market on Lexington Avenue, on the city's North Side.

Police said four males entered the market May 21, waving guns, and told people to give them money and lie on the floor. One of the store's owners, Atway Atway, grabbed a gun that he kept behind the counter and fired several shots at the robbers as they fled. Farmer, who was struck in the chest, died the next day.

Atway wasn't charged because the city prosecutor said he acted in self-defense.

Franklin was indicted in October on one count each of murder and aggravated robbery, with firearm specifications on both counts. Prosecutors have said that accomplices can be charged with murder if someone dies while a crime is committed.

Franklin is being tried as an adult although he was 17 when he was charged. If he is convicted, he could be sentenced to 15 years to life in prison.

Another case

Franklin also has been charged with seven counts of felonious assault with firearm specifications in a separate case.

Police identified Franklin as a passenger in a Cadillac that had been stolen at gunpoint from a secretary at Mount Zion Baptist Church on the city's East Side last July. Occupants of the stolen car fired shots at police during a pursuit on the East Side and eluded capture for a day.

Franklin's case was transferred in January from Mahoning County Juvenile Court to the adult trial division of common pleas court. He was indicted in March on charges of felonious assault against seven Youngstown police officers.

Three adults -- Duniek Christian, 21, and Jumal Edwards and Brandon Jackson, both 22 -- also are charged in the July encounter.

shaulis@vindy.com




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