Murder victim's family, friends vow to return after hearing postponed when attorneys fail to show up

(Source: UNC Charlotte's Department of Psychological Science website)
(Source: UNC Charlotte's Department of Psychological Science website)

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Donny Franklin, the man accused of killing a popular UNC Charlotte professor, was scheduled to be in a Mecklenburg County courtroom Thursday afternoon to enter a plea.

The expectation was that Franklin would plead guilty but the court appearance didn't happen.

Neither one of Franklin's attorneys showed up in court.

The hearing had to be rescheduled for Friday morning after the prosecutor told the court that the defense attorneys indicated there was an error in their calendars.

"Very painful but it looks like that was a planned move," said Dr Skinner's aunt, Angela. "Very unfortunate but it's okay, the support and love she had today will show up tomorrow."

Dr. Skinner's body was found in the apartment last September. The Medical Examiner's Office said she had been stabbed multiple times.

Police say Skinner and Franklin were in a relationship.

Angela Skinner was one of several family members who came in from out of state for Franklin's Thursday's court appearance. They were surrounded by Dr Skinner's friends, church members and UNC Charlotte colleagues.

In fact, they filled six rows of one half of the courtroom.

"It's sad is the best word but we're going to move it to tomorrow morning and God has a plan and we're going to wait for that day," said UNC Charlotte professor, Dr Kathleen West. "I think most of us will be back – the ones that can – we all want to be. The ones that can will be. So you'll see us again."

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