A man convicted in a series of racially motivated killings, including two in Salt Lake City, confessed last year to the 1980 shooting deaths of two black Cincinnati teens, a prosecutor testified.
Joseph Paul Franklin, 48, could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted on charges that he shot cousins Dante Evans Brown, 13, and Darrell Lane, 14, on June 8, 1980. Ohio did not have a death penalty at the time.Franklin, who is white, has admitted to a series of racially motivated shootings around the country from 1977 to 1980. He was sentenced to die in Missouri for the 1977 sniper murder of a Jewish man outside a synagogue.
Melissa Powers, an assistant Hamilton County prosecutor, testified Tuesday that when she questioned Franklin last year in the Missouri prison where he was housed, he admitted to killing the Cincinnati teens.
"He approached me, leaned his shoulder into mine. He looked over his glasses and said, `You know I did it,' " Powers testified.
"I said, `Did what?' He said, `I killed those dudes.' I said, `Where?' He said, `In Cincinnati.' "
The defense is trying to keep that alleged confession out of Franklin's Oct. 5 trial in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court. The defense also wants the judge to relocate the trial, saying Franklin cannot get a fair trial in Cincinnati, where the slayings occurred.
Judge Ralph Winkler did not rule Tuesday on either request. He asked defense and prosecution lawyers to give him written arguments by Sept. 22 and said he'll rule after that.
Franklin received life sentences for the killings of an interracial couple in Madison, Wis., in 1977, and two black men in Salt Lake City in 1980.