$1 million bond for Middletown bar shooting suspect

Bond was set at $1 million Wednesday morning in Middletown Municipal Court for the man charged with gunning down another man outside a Middletown bar.

Malcolm Franklin, 27, is charged with aggravated murder and three counts of felonious assault for his alleged involvement in the fatal shooting Tuesday at D&J’s Nite Spot, 1200 Elliott Drive, said Lt. Jimmy Cunningham.

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Franklin allegedly shot and killed Julian Marquis Johnson, 23, of Middletown, around 1:45 a.m. Tuesday, police said.

Johnson died from gunshot wounds and his death has been ruled a homicide by the Butler County Coroner’s Office.

Franklin was located by Middletown police at 9:42 a.m. Tuesday — about eight hours after the shooting — riding a bike in the area of Sante Fe Road and Poinciana Road, according to court documents obtained by the Journal-News. He jumped off his bike and ran from officers, but he was caught after a foot pursuit, police said.

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He told police he had a .40-caliber Smith & Wesson handgun when he started running and the gun was found in the 2600 block of Flemming Avenue. He later admitted to the shooting, police said. Franklin told police that while he was standing outside a fenced area at the bar, he heard a noise and began shooting through the fence, striking at least three people.

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A second victim, Natasha Walton, 30, of Middletown, was transported to Atrium Medical Center with a gunshot wound to the abdomen, according to a police report. Walton told police at the hospital she didn’t know who shot her. She wasn’t listed in the hospital’s directory Wednesday.

While interviewing Walton, the hospital’s medical staff told police that another shooting victim came into the emergency room. The victim refused to talk to police and referred all questions to his attorney.

A third person may have been hit by gunfire at D&J’s Nite Spot, but fled from the scene, police said. Officers said they followed a blood trail to the area of Roosevelt Boulevard and Elliott Drive where they believe the victim was picked up in a vehicle.

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Franklin remains in the Middletown City Jail and will appear for his preliminary hearing next week. He will be appointed an attorney.

Visiting Middletown Municipal Court Judge Robert Taylor said if the case is sent to the Butler County Grand Jury, it would consider specifications that could greatly impact Franklin’s possible jail sentence.

Franklin currently faces two to eight years in prison on each of the three felonious assault charges, Taylor said.

Julian’s father, Kenneth Johnson, 56, attended Franklin’s court hearing Wednesday. He said Franklin, a native of Baton Rogue, La., was sent to Middletown to kill his son.

“Somebody else is behind it,” the father said. “My son probably was in a lot of things he shouldn’t have been into, but that’s life. And there has been a lot of whole of drama behind all this. My son is gone. Some of the people out there is still out there. Police got to do their job. It’s farther than him. He’s just the domino effect. He just was somebody who was a stooge.”

MORE: Watch what victim’s father had to say after court

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