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Police, father of Middletown bar shooting victim fear retaliation

The father of a Middletown man fatally shot early Tuesday morning outside a bar believes there will be additional violence in the city because more people connected to the shooting remain free.

Malcolm Franklin, 27, allegedly shot and killed Julian Marquis Johnson, 23, of Middletown, around 1:45 a.m. Tuesday outside D&J’s Nite Spot, 1200 Elliott Drive, police said. It was the city’s sixth homicide of the year, matching the total from all of 2016, according to police records.

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Julian’s father, Kenneth Johnson, 56, and other relatives, attended Franklin’s court hearing Wednesday morning in Middletown Municipal Court. 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 after the hearing. “My son probably was in a lot of things he shouldn’t have been into, but that’s life. And there has been a whole lot 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 (Franklin). He’s just the domino effect. He just was somebody who was a stooge.”

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Middletown police said Tuesday night they were concerned about retaliation to the shooting, citing an incident in the city that may be connected to Johnson’s death.

Johnson said his son’s death is also a continuation of recent violence in the city. It was the city’s sixth homicide of the year, matching the total from all of 2016.

“It’s been that for the last nine months,” he said. “It’s been an on-going thing. I’ve had to look behind my back because they sent knuckle heads to do something to me. The knuckle heads is slipping.”

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Julian Johnson has been arrested by Middletown police about 10 times since 2013, according to court records reviewed by the Journal-News. He was charged four times for drug abuse/marijuana, three times for driving under suspension and twice for no operator’s license.

Julian Johnson, whose rapper name is WOP Fisher, has at least two videos on YouTube. In both videos, he flashes handfuls of $100 bills and handguns while standing near a cemetery and basketball court.

Kenneth Johnson admitted his son was into illegal activity, which may have been motivation for his murder.

“So they got mad and wanted to kill him,” he said. “And they got lucky and killed him. My son is gone now. The problems came to him.”

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At one point during Wednesday’s court appearance, Kenneth Johnson got so emotional he walked out of the courtroom.

“As a man I wanted to go there and strangle the life out of this man,” he said when asked his reaction to seeing his son’s alleged killer. “Actually I would but I can’t do anything about it. It is what it is.”

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