Trial in fatal Middletown bar shooting begins today

Jury selection will begin Monday morning in the trial of a man charged in a fatal shooting outside a Middletown bar nearly 18 months ago.

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. Franklin has been housed in the Butler County Jail since his arrest on $1 million bond.

Last week both prosecutors and the defense team told Butler County Common Pleas Judge Charles Pater they were ready for trial.

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In August, Franklin’s trial was delayed at the request of the defense — attorneys Frank Schiavone III and Frank Schiavone IV — after Schiavone IV suffered a health issue.

A pool of 60 potential jurors have been called for selection and the trial is expected to last for five days, according to Schiavone IV.

After selection is completed, the jury is expected to view the scene on Elliott Drive, according to the defense.

Franklin allegedly shot Julian Marquis Johnson, 23, outside the 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.

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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 said there was no probable cause. After a hearing in February, that motion was denied by Pater.

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