Attorneys in McPherson County have made significant efforts to speed up what could’ve been an extremely lengthy trial for 20-year-old Alton Franklin, a former McPherson College football player charged with second-degree murder in the death of 26-year-old Tabor College football player Brandon Brown.
Prior to the start of trial Monday, McPherson County Attorney David Page submitted a list of about 200 witnesses in the case, including about 80 medical and laboratory personnel, 20 law enforcement officers and nearly 100 other witnesses.
But Page and new Deputy McPherson County Attorney Britt Colle and Franklin’s attorneys, David Harger and Ann Parkins of McPherson, opted to work together to whittle down the length of the trial — and ultimately save taxpayers’ money. District Judge Richard Walker publicly praised their efforts before the trial even started.
On Monday, the sworn-in jurors were each handed a five-page list of stipulations, or a list of numerous pieces of evidence the attorneys have already agreed upon to be facts of the case. The list mostly includes the many results of Kansas Bureau of Investigation laboratory testing. The jurors are to considered everything in that list to be factual.
I requested and obtained a copy from the court of the stipulations, which you can review yourself here: http://hutchnews.com/www/trialstipulations.pdf
This is undoubtedly saving a significant amount of time, as KBI forensic scientists won’t have to testify about every lab test they performed.
Nor does either side need to call in the expert who determined the knife found on the sidewalk just north of 438 N. Carrie St. in McPherson — where Brown was found unresponsive with a head injury after a Sept. 16 party — was the same knife used to make nine puncture marks in the front door of the residence.
According to the stipulations, the blood found on that knife belongs to Tabor College football player Ilai Eteaki, who along with Brown, was kicked out of the Sept. 16 party by McPherson College players. Franklin’s co-defendant DeQuinte Flournoy, who pleaded no contest last week to a reduced charge of aggravated battery, testified Tuesday that he saw Brown with a knife outside of the residence.
The state alleges Franklin attacked Brown and struck him while he was down on the ground. The defense is denying the allegations, and Harger has told jurors if they believe Franklin struck Brown at all (which at least one witness has already testified occurred) then it was in self-defense or defense of others. The second-degree murder charge against Franklin alleges he unintentionally but recklessly killed Brown, who died six days after being injured early Sept. 16 in McPherson.
Page initially estimated the trial could wrap up this week, but it will likely continue into next week.
-Darcy Gray, Kansas Crime and Punishment