Malcolm Franklin appears in Butler County Court

Spider bite delays Middletown murder trial

Malcolm Franklin, 28, formerly of Louisiana, is charged with murder as well as three counts of felonious assault for gun violence in 2017, at D&J Nite spot.

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Franklin was in Butler County Common Pleas Court on Tuesday with his attorneys Frank Schiavone III and Frank Schiavone IV for what was scheduled to be a final hearing before trial.

But after meeting with Judge Charles Pater in chambers, the case was called and rescheduled for Nov. 26 due to “fairly serious” health issues suffered by Schiavone IV.

The trial of Malcolm Franklin, charged in a 2017 fatal shooting outside a Middletown bar, will not begin Monday due to attorney illness. The trial has been continued until November.
Photo: NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

The defense attorney said he is having a reaction to a spider bite he received while on vacation and cannot prepare for trial.

“I should be fine, but not for trial Monday,” Schiavone IV said. One side of his face was swollen and a large mark was visible by his eyebrow.

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Franklin allegedly shot Julian Marquis Johnson, 23, outside the Elliott Drive bar during the early morning hours of May 30, 2017. Three others were also injured by gunfire, according to Middletown police.

Middletown police Detective Jon Rawlins testified during a previous hearing that Franklin confessed to killing Johnson.

Defense attorneys filed motions to suppress statements Franklin made to police without an attorney present and the traffic stop of his client after the shooting because they say there was no probable cause. After a hearing in February, that motion was denied by Pater.

Franklin remains housed in the Butler County Jail on $1 million bond.

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