Cover Story: Brock Franklin - New trial?

By Jeff Atkinson - bio | email

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Major developments in court today surrounding a teenager convicted three years ago in a highly publicized deadly drunk driving case.  Attorneys for former Myers Park senior Brock Franklin arguing in Mecklenburg court today for a new trial.   Franklin's attorneys claiming they have new evidence that Franklin was drugged the night he drove his car the wrong way on I-485 killing two people.

Brock Franklin's attorneys were arguing that they have testimony from a witness who came forward that Franklin was drugged at a party he attended before the crash.

The evidence coming as part of a deposition in a civil case against Brock Franklin that's being argued right now.

Brock Franklin's attorney Paul Whitfield contends that if Franklin was drugged.. he wasn't fully responsible for the crash and should face a charge lesser than second-degree murder.

Said Whitfield, "We have testimony under oath in a deposition who said the man who did it confessed to it."  To which a reporter says, "A judge said it's not credible."  Responds Whitfield, "A judge has that opinion. He makes the call.. Because he believes it doesn't make it so."

Franklin's blood alcohol content was .12%  legally drunk under North Carolina law.. when on the night of February 19, 2006 he drove the wrong way on I-485 near I-77 in South Charlotte.. slamming head-on into a car killing 23-year old Eddel Rivera and 22-year old Richard Bryant.

"Driving the wrong way"

Franklin, 18 at the time pleaded no contest and was sentenced to 12-years in prison.

Franklin's attorney filing a motion for appropriate relief.. was seeking a new trial on evidence from a witness who admitted under oath spiking Franklin's drink.

A Mecklenburg judge today denied the motion.

Attorney Paul Whitfield says he'll appeal.

"Don't think it's over. Mother's been fighting for two years single-handedly."

The assistant district attorney who prosecuted the case three years ago, Marsha Goodenow said, "All this evidence.. lack of evidence was back then. We investigated it. There was no evidence that anybody drugged him that night.. only that he was drunk."

During sentencing, Brock Franklin argued then that he believed someone slipped something in his drink.. unbeknownst to him.

But an Alcohol Law Enforcement agent testified today that there was no evidence that Franklin was drugged.

Why is proving he was drugged so important?

In order to be convicted of murder you have to prove malice..

If he was drugged Franklin's attorney will argue that Franklin was oblivious to what was going on and could not have intended to drive a motor vehicle.. they would argue in a new trial and get a lesser sentence.