Aggravated murder trial delayed four months

WARREN — The trial date for Alan M. Francis, who could face the death penalty in the killing of a 76-year-old Weathersfield man, was pushed back to June.

The delay was to allow Francis’ defense team time to address his competency.

Francis, 44, of Niles, was scheduled for a hearing Wednesday to determine whether information police gathered during an interview with him just after his arrest was admissable during his trial. The trial was scheduled for Feb. 27.

Francis, however, gave the court permission to move his trial date back to June 4 so that his attorneys can gather information to determine whether he was mentally competent to decide to talk to police.

Francis is accused of kllling John P. Crocker of Emerson Street Nov. 21, 2005, in Crocker’s home. Francis is accused of shooting Crocker twice in the head and once in the hand, hitting him four times in the head and back with a stick and slashing Crocker’s throat, hands and arm with a knife. Francis is charged with aggravated murder, aggravated robbery and aggravated burglary.

He was arrested by Niles police Nov. 23 after police say he went on a crime spree that included purse snatchings and armed robberies at a couple of restaurants and other businesses in Niles in the days before and after authorities found Crocker dead.

An affidavit in the case says that after signing a waiver of his rights to remain silent, Francis told Niles police Nov. 23, 2005, that he was in Crocker’s house to borrow money and that he had shot Crocker three times after Crocker pointed a gun at him.

Francis is now represented by Youngstown attorneys James S. Gentile and Louis M. DeFabio, who took on the case in March. At first Francis was represented by public defenders.

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