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Jury convicts Franklin in teen's death



Published: Fri, April 21, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.



The defendant and the deceased were partners in crime.

By DEBORA SHAULIS

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

YOUNGSTOWN -- A Mahoning County jury has found Craig Franklin guilty in the murder of a 15-year-old boy, even though someone else shot him.

Franklin, 18, of Glenwood Avenue, was found guilty Thursday of conspiracy to aggravated robbery and conspiracy to murder charges. The jury also found Franklin innocent of firearm violations on both counts, meaning he wasn't guilty of having a gun while either crime was committed.

Judge John M. Durkin of Common Pleas Court will sentence Franklin later.

Franklin could receive 25 years to life in prison, assistant County Prosecutor Martin P. Desmond said.

Eric Farmer, 15, of St. Louis Avenue, died May 22, a day after he, Franklin and other accomplices went to rob Atway's Market on Lexington Avenue, on the city's North Side.

What police alleged

At the time, police said four males entered the market, waving guns and telling 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. Farmer was struck in the chest and another juvenile was wounded.

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

Franklin was responsible because he was the ringleader, Desmond and assistant County Prosecutor Gina Arnaut said. Franklin planned the robbery using information he had from cashing his mother's checks at Atway's Market, they said. His accomplices weren't familiar with the store because they lived on the South Side, they added.

Atty. Ronald D. Yarwood, who represented Franklin, couldn't be reached to comment.

Another case

Franklin also has been charged with seven counts of felonious assault with firearm specifications against police officers in another 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.

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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