Jury selection continues in hatchet murder trial — (The Birmingham News)

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The Birmingham News

 10/03/2000

KENT FAULK, News staff writer  HUNTSVILLE – Jury selection is to continue today in the capital murder trial of a Huntsville man charged in the hatchet slayings of his parents. Jeffrey Franklin, 20, also is charged with three counts of attempted murder in hatchet attacks on two younger brothers and a younger sister on March 10, 1998.

Another younger sister was not at home at the time.  Jury selection began Monday afternoon before Madison County Circuit Judge Loyd H. Little Jr.  Crime news and statistics Franklin defense attorneys plan to put on an insanity defense. A Huntsville police investigator testified in an earlier hearing that Franklin said after his arrest – following a car chase through south Huntsville – that it was like some “evil being,” with horns sticking out of his head and eyes had taken over his body.

Franklin, who at the time was still in high school, had satanic symbols on his body when he was arrested, police have said.  Franklin also told investigators he had been taking the prescription drugs Ritalin, Prozac and Klonopin and had not slept for two days before the attack.  The estate of Franklin’s parents – Gerald and Cynthia Franklin – and guardians for his brothers and sisters filed lawsuits against Franklin, his psychiatrists and the drug manufacturers.  Prosecutors and defense attorneys said they couldn’t comment on whether Franklin or his siblings will testify. © 2000

The Birmingham News. Used with permission.

 

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Heart of the Valley residents remember brutal crime 10 years later

Updated:Apr 11, 2008 1:50 PM EDT

By Elizabeth Gentle

WAFF 48 News Reporter

Ten years ago the Heart of the Valley was shocked when a teenager brutally killed his parents with an axe and slashed three of his siblings.

Monday, we visited the neighborhood where it all started on March 10, 1998 is a night no one on Camelot Drive in South Huntsville will ever forget.

“Jeffrey killed his parents and did a job on the three others that were there,” says neighbor Becky Grega.

Grega lives across the street from the house Gerald and Cynthia Franklin called home 10 years ago.

She remembers the night the Franklin’s oldest son, Jeffrey, used a hatchet to brutally kill his parents and slash his siblings.

Grega says she’s reminded of that grizzly night every time she looks across the street.

“You think about it everyday. When you see the house,” says Grega.

And the images of that night.

Franklin –shirtless in handcuffs — spitting, cursing and making obscene gestures at police and news crews.

He was diagnosed with ADHD before his parents were killed.

A doctor prescribed Ritalin, Prozac and Klonopin to treat his condition.

Franklin admitted to police he abused the drugs.

“Even 12 days after this tragic event happened he still had almost a lethal amount of Ritalin in his blood stream,” says Grega.

Ten years later, Jeffrey Franklin still sits behind bars serving three life sentences.

He still stays in touch with his former attorney.

“I think he’s doing better. He’s participating in a program with psychological problems he’s apparently still on medication,” says attorney Robert Tuten.

The three children who were injured in the attack, Sarah, Timothy and Christopher Franklin, and their sister, Stacey, who was not at home, now live in New York with relatives.

Tuten says recently Franklin and his brothers and sisters began communicating with each other.

You can contact Elizabeth Gentle at egentle@waff.com