Franklin gets 50 years for murder, assault

May 26, 2009|By HEATHER KEELS

HAGERSTOWN -- A Hagerstown man who wounded his ex-girlfriend and killed her boyfriend in a double shooting on Summit Avenue in October 2008 was sentenced to 50 years in prison Tuesday after he pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and first-degree assault.

Before he was sentenced, Kevin Valentino Franklin, 39, made a tearful apology to the shooting victims' family members.

Franklin shot and killed Larry Boyce Jr., 36, outside Boyce's apartment at 746 Summit Ave. on the morning of Oct. 24, then broke into the apartment and shot his former girlfriend, Amanda Turner, who had been seeing Boyce, Assistant State's Attorney Brett Wilson said.

Franklin then dragged Turner to his vehicle and took her to Washington County Hospital, Wilson said. Turner survived, but suffered injuries to her left wrist and right arm that might be permanently debilitating, Wilson said.

Washington County Circuit Judge John H. McDowell sentenced Franklin to life in prison on the first-degree murder charge, but suspended all but 40 years. McDowell sentenced Franklin to an additional 10 years, to be served consecutively, on the first-degree assault charge in Turner's shooting.


Franklin also could face about five years for violating his probation in a 2006 assault case in Frederick County, Md., McDowell said.

Turner, who has a 10-year-old daughter with Franklin, attended the hearing, but did not make a statement. McDowell said he understood she was not seeking much, if any, incarceration.

Boyce's family members sought a life sentence for Franklin.

Wilson read from a statement by Boyce's mother, who said she missed a month of work after her son was killed and wrote that she felt "so empty inside" and finds herself crying at different times of day.

"He has his life, but he took my son away," Boyce's mother wrote in the statement read by Wilson.

Boyce's sister, Beverly Pearson, wrote that Boyce was her "everything" and played a big role in her children's lives.

"He was executed for no good reason," Pearson wrote in her statement.

When given an opportunity to speak, Franklin sat frozen for a moment before using his arms to push himself to a standing position and turning to face Turner and the victims' families.

In a halting voice choked with sobs, he told Boyce's relatives, "I know you hate me" and said he wanted them to know he didn't mean for the murder to happen.

"What I'm saying is, I'm sorry," he said.

To Turner and her family, he said he wasn't going to try to explain what happened because they knew the story.

"I'm sorry that I can't keep making right decisions and I just want to tell you all I love you, because you've been good to me," he said.

Franklin met Turner almost 20 years ago and during their long relationship, her parents treated him like their child, Assistant Public Defender Carl Creeden said.

Franklin has been in and out of the Division of Correction for much of his life, with a record of robbery, theft, burglary, drug distribution, forgery, stalking and other charges, Wilson said.

Creeden said much of that record is related to mental-health issues and substance-abuse problems. Franklin has been diagnosed as bipolar, and has a history of problems with PCP, alcohol, cocaine and heroin, Creeden said.

Franklin never knew his father and his mother struggled with mental illness, so Franklin was raised by his grandmother, and lived in foster homes and juvenile facilities from the age of 8, Creeden said.

Creeden said Franklin might have been drinking or high before the shootings.

"It's fair to say Kevin lost control and judgment, and this tragedy occurred," he said.

McDowell said that had it not been for the plea agreement, Franklin likely would have been given a life sentence.

The 50-year sentence might turn out to be a life sentence in effect because Franklin will be "quite old" by the time he has any chance for release, McDowell said.

Franklin will not be eligible for parole until he serves half of the sentence.

"The long and short of it is that Mr. Boyce's life need not have been taken," McDowell told Franklin. "Any problems or differences you may have had with Mr. Boyce could have been resolved in a much, much different way."

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