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Interview and stop of fatal Middletown bar shooting suspect at issue in hearing

Published: Wednesday, February 07, 2018 @ 9:54 AM

            Malcolm Franklin, charged with aggravated murder and felonious assault in the deadly bar shooting at D&J Nite Spot in Middletown, talks with defense attorney Frank Schiavone IV during a hearing Tuesday in Butler County Common Pleas Court. LAUREN PACK/STAFF
Malcolm Franklin, charged with aggravated murder and felonious assault in the deadly bar shooting at D&J Nite Spot in Middletown, talks with defense attorney Frank Schiavone IV during a hearing Tuesday in Butler County Common Pleas Court. LAUREN PACK/STAFF

After two hours of testimony by police Tuesday, a hearing in Butler County Common Pleas Court on a motion to suppress evidence against a man charged in a fatal Middletown shooting was continued.

Malcolm Franklin, 28, formerly of Louisiana, is charged with aggravated murder as well as three counts of felonious assault for gun violence on May 30 at D&J’s Nite Spot.

Franklin allegedly shot Julian Marquis Johnson, 23, outside the Elliott Drive bar during the early-morning hours. Three others were injured by gunfire, according to police.

MORE: Police, father of Middletown bar shooting victim fear retaliation

Middletown police Detective Jon Rawlins testified during a preliminary hearing in Middletown Municipal Court last spring that Franklin confessed to killing Johnson.

Defense attorneys Frank Schiavone III and Frank Schiavone IV want evidence excluded at trial, arguing that statements Franklin made to police were without an attorney present and the stop of their client after the shooting was improper because there was no probable cause.

A gun believed to be involved in the shooting was later recovered by police in a flower bed where officers say Franklin fell while running from them.

The defense team told Judge Charles Pater that witnesses, including police officers, gave conflicting statements about the incident and the recovery of the gun.

MORE: Middletown bar shooting 911 calls ‘Everybody is freaking out here’

Detective Kristy Hughes was first to testify during Tuesday’s hearing, saying that she learned detectives wanted to talk with Franklin about the fatal shooting when she came into work about 9 a.m. May 30. She printed off a picture of Franklin from an arrest a few months prior, got in her detective vehicle and began looking for him.

Hughes said she saw Franklin and a woman he was dating riding bicycles on Central Avenue not long after the search began, and when she turned to follow the duo, they began peddling faster. At one point, the couple separated, and she followed Franklin in the Sunset Park area while calling for marked police units.

The detective said she saw Franklin reaching in his waistband and, “I believed he was reaching for a gun.”

When marked police units arrived, Franklin got off his bike and ran, Hughes said. She said she saw him slip and fall in a flower garden of a residence. Hughes testified she recalled the gun being at that location.

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Schiavone IV pointed out during cross examination that evidence indicated the gun was not found in the yard until about 4 p.m. that day when the homeowner called police.

Rawlins testified that officers did search the flower bed for the gun after Franklin agreed to take them to the location where the gun was tossed, but it was not recovered until the homeowner called.

Rawlins said he questioned Franklin several times, and before each session, Franklin was read his Miranda rights. The sessions were audio recorded, but in one case the equipment malfunctioned for a period of time.

When Franklin asked to speak with his attorney, Rawlins said he told him he was going to be booked into the jail for murder and felonious assault and the questioning ended.

Franklin then wanted to know why they could not continue to talk, and Rawlins asked him if he wanted to continue to talk with detectives.

“He said, ‘I’m talking,’” Rawlins said.

In the days after his arrest, Rawlins said Franklin sent communication from the Middletown City Jail saying he wanted to talk with him.

The hearing was continued until Feb. 27, when Rawlins will be cross examined by the defense team and Detective Steve Winters is expected to testify. Pater will then rule on the motion.

Franklin is being held on a $1 million bond. No trial date has been set.

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Dayton to activate 5 red-light cameras for 30-day warning period

Published: Friday, May 18, 2018 @ 6:32 PM
Updated: Monday, May 21, 2018 @ 3:58 AM

Five traffic enforcement red-light cameras will be activated starting today at two intersections.

Three cameras will be at James H. McGee Boulevard and West Third Street, and two others are at Linden Avenue and South Smithville Road. A 30-day warning period begins Monday at both locations, according to a release from the city.

>> Dayton’s red light, speed cameras will run 24/7 without police present

During the warning period, the registered owner of a vehicle committing a violation will be sent a warning in the mail. After 30 days, citations will be issued by mail, according to the city.

Activation of these red-light cameras completes the Dayton Police Department’s plan for traffic enforcement cameras.

Following is a list of fixed-site camera locations, along with the current locations of mobile speed trailers:

  • West Third Street at James H. McGee Boulevard (three red light cameras) 
  • North Gettysburg Avenue at Fairbanks Avenue (two speed cameras) 
  • North Main Street at Siebenthaler Avenue (one speed camera) 
  • South Keowee Street between East Third Street and East Fourth Street (two speed cameras) 
  • South Smithville Road at Linden Avenue (two red light cameras) 
  • Area of Troy Street and Stanley Avenue (two mobile speed trailers) 
  • North Main Street near Forest Glen Avenue (one mobile speed trailer). 

The Dayton Police Department also uses six handheld speed enforcement camera units. 

There have been 84 fewer injury crashes (432) to date in 2018 compared to 516 injury crashes during the same period in 2017, the city reported.

Got a tip? Call our monitored 24-hour line, 937-259-2237, or send it to

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Coroner ID’s woman shot, killed in drive-by shooting in Dayton

Published: Saturday, May 19, 2018 @ 6:30 PM
Updated: Sunday, May 20, 2018 @ 11:33 AM

Dayton Shooting on Euclid Ave.

UPDATE @ 11:26 a.m.

Montgomery County Coroner’s Office confirmed Sherrell Wheatley, 62, of Dayton was the woman shot and killed Saturday while walking near a house targeted by a drive-by shooting in Dayton.

UPDATE @ 9 p.m.

A woman in her 60s was gunned down this evening when she was walking near a house targeted by a drive-by shooting, police said.

The woman, whose name was not released, was an innocent bystander who suffered at least one gunshot wound; she was taken to Miami Valley Hospital, where she succumbed to her injuries, Dayton police Sgt. Creigee Coleman said.

Police investigate a fatal shooting May 19, 2018, in the 860 block of North Euclid Avenue in Dayton.(DeANGELO BYRD / STAFF)

“A vehicle driven by a male had another male inside the vehicle, and that male fired several rounds towards an unknown house in an attempt to probably cause damage to that house,” Coleman said.

The passenger fired five or six rounds, he said.

Aaron Taylor said the woman was his great aunt.

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“I just happened to pull up, see my auntie in the grass dead,” he said.

He described his aunt as a sweet lady and matriarch of his family and the community.

“Definitely innocent bystander walking up the street,” Taylor said.

Police are searching for a silver Ford Taurus or similar four-door car, and also are asking for the public’s help to come forward with any information.

>> 2 men jailed in Dayton kidnapping, sex-related case

“Now this is a situation where a person was indiscriminately firing a weapon, a large-caliber weapon from what I’ve been told, at a house and a person who was innocent just happened to be walking by and got hit by a bullet that has no eyes,” Coleman said.


Police and medics were called this evening to a shooting.

The shooting was reported at 6:10 p.m. in the 800 block of North Euclid Avenue.

At least one person was shot, according to the Montgomery County Regional Dispatch Center.

>> Visitation set for victims of man’s murder-suicide

According to initial reports, a caller heard 12 to 15 gunshots and saw a woman on the ground.

We are on the way and will update this report as we learn details.

Got a tip? Call our monitored 24-hour line, 937-259-2237, or send it to

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Stealing car ‘faster than walking’ woman tells Dayton police

Published: Sunday, May 20, 2018 @ 12:08 AM

Brittany Grandberry

A woman accused of grand theft auto said she drove off in a stolen car “because it was faster than walking,” according to a Dayton police report.

Police were called around 9:45 p.m. Friday to Church’s Chicken, 2443 N. Gettysburg Ave., after a woman said her white 2018 Chevrolet Equinox rental was stolen from the parking lot after she went inside to get food.

>> 2 men escape Community Correctional Center in Warren County

The rented vehicle was tracked using OnStar, and a Dayton officer was able to find it a little more than three miles away in the 100 block of North Plaza Avenue, according to a police report.

Police identified the alleged driver as 36-year-old Brittany Grandberry.

>> Police say innocent woman shot, killed by high-caliber gun in drive-by shooting

When asked why she drove the vehicle: “she stated that she walked past it and saw it was running and walked back to it. She stated that she drove the vehicle away from Church’s Chicken because it was faster than walking.”

Grandberry is due Monday in Dayton Municipal Court.

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2 men escape Community Corrections Center in Warren County

Published: Saturday, May 19, 2018 @ 11:14 PM

Daniel Hatfield Jr., left, and Jeremy Mink
Ohio Department of Rehabilitation & Correction
Daniel Hatfield Jr., left, and Jeremy Mink(Ohio Department of Rehabilitation & Correction)

Law enforcement is asking for the public’s help to find two prisoners who escaped Saturday night from the Community Correctional Center.

Deputies from the Warren County Sheriff’s Office responded around 8:30 p.m. to the area of 5234 state Route 63, the CCC, for a report of two men running through a field. They jumped into an older model silver minivan and fled the area.

The men are identified as Daniel Hatfield Jr. and Jeremy Mink, and were confirmed to have escaped from the facility run by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation & Correction, according to the sheriff’s office.

Hatfield, 27, stands 5 feet 6 inches, weighs 186 pounds, has blue eyes and brown hair. He was last seen wearing tan pants and a white shirt. He is sentenced to CCC after being convicted of a probation violation for drug offenses out of Butler County.

Mink 28, stands 6 feet, 1 inch, weighs 195 pounds has blue eyes and brown hair. He was last seen wearing tan pants and no shirt. He was sentenced to CCC after being convicted of drug offenses out of Clermont County.

Anyone with information on either man’s whereabouts is urged to contact the Warren County Sheriff’s Office at 513-695-1280.

Got a tip? Call our monitored 24-hour line, 937-259-2237, or send it to

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