King was attacked by the brothers between 3 and 4 a.m. while walking home on West Antietam Street, according to published reports. He was punched, kicked and had his head pounded into the pavement before he was robbed of his wallet, reports said.
In a Washington County Circuit Court hearing Wednesday, Garrick Greenblatt, assistant public defender in the collateral review division of the Maryland Office of the Public Defender, said Franklin wants his sentence vacated and is requesting a new trial.
Greenblatt said Franklin's defense attorney in King's murder, Circuit Judge W. Kennedy Boone III, coerced Franklin's plea by telling his family that he would get the death penalty if he didn't plead. Greenblatt also alleged Boone did not investigate Franklin's intoxication on the night of the murder as a possible defense.
The Franklins' mother, Eleanor Franklin, 77, testified Wednesday that Boone told her "one, if maybe both" of her sons would get the death penalty if they did not plead guilty. She said that after her conversation with Boone, she "went home and wrote (Charles Franklin) a letter asking him to do that."
"It scared me. I told him I'd rather visit him in jail. At least he'd be here," she testified.
Washington County Deputy State's Attorney Joseph Michael argued that there's "no evidence" Charles Franklin was coerced.
"His mother wanted him to plead guilty because it would avoid a death sentence," Michael said. "That is not a coercion. It's just a statement of facts that must be presented."
He said that Franklin was in good mental health, but had borderline intelligence. Franklin's intoxication on the night of the murder could not have been a defense on his charges, Michael said.
Circuit Judge John H. McDowell said he would render his opinion on the matter in writing within the next couple of weeks.
Charles Franklin, who is serving a 60-year sentence at Mount Olive Correctional Complex in southern West Virginia, was not transported to court Wednesday for his hearing.
Greenblatt said in order for Franklin to be transported across state lines, he would need permission from both state's governors.
According to published reports, the Franklin brothers were sentenced in January 1982 in Hampshire County, W.Va., to serve 60 years after they pleaded guilty to an armed robbery there in which they robbed a woman at gunpoint and forced her and her three daughters into a closet.
That sentencing ended a nearly yearlong, four-state saga that began in Maryland on March 7, 1981, when the brothers cut their way out of Maryland Correctional Institution-Hagerstown, The Herald-Mail has reported.
After their escape from MCI, the brothers surfaced in a mountainous, rural section of Hampshire County known as the Three Church Road area, broke into one home and stole more than $8,000 worth of goods, including guns, and, on the same night, broke into another home and stole $500 worth of property and a car, reports said.
The following night, the brothers robbed the Hampshire County family, the offense to which they pleaded guilty and received the 60-year sentence.
After that, the Franklins went into hiding for about three weeks, making their way to Morgan County, W.Va., where they broke into more homes, shot a man and forced four members of his family into the trunk of the family car. The brothers then picked up a couple leaving a club in southern Berkeley County, forced them into the trunk of the woman's car - leaving the other family locked in their trunk - and drove south on Interstate 81, The Herald-Mail has reported.
The female hostage convinced the brothers she needed to use the restroom and left messages for police, leading to the brothers' capture 300 miles south in Smythe County, Va. The Franklins exchanged gunfire with police before being captured, according to published newspaper stories.
Virginia courts convicted them of assaulting a police officer and sentenced them to 12-year terms to run concurrently with their Maryland life terms.
They were sent to Jefferson County Jail, due to concerns from Morgan County about security there, but broke out on the night of July 11, 1981. For the next month, according to published accounts, the brothers kept authorities jumping with reported sightings.
The brothers were discovered Sept. 13, 1981, holed up in a homemade underground hut in a mountainous area near Gerrardstown, W.Va., and were taken into custody without incident, The Herald-Mail has reported.