Quawn Franklin was sentenced to death by the State of Florida for the murder of John Horan. According to court documents Quawn Franklin was just released from prison when he and an accomplice would rob and murder John Horan who was delivering pizzas. Quawn Franklin would be arrested, convicted and sentenced to death
Quawn Franklin 2021 Information
|FRANKLIN, QUAWN M
|Initial Receipt Date:
|Current Release Date:
Quawn Franklin More News
Quawn M. Franklin was charged with attempted armed robbery and first-degree murder in the shooting death of Jerry Lawley in Lake County in December 2001. Lawley’s murder was the third violent crime committed by Franklin in the span of two weeks.
Franklin was sixteen years old when he was sentenced to ten years in prison for the robbery of Clarence Martin in 1993. He was granted conditional release from prison on October 1, 2001. On December 18, 2001, Franklin ambushed pizza delivery man John Horan in Leesburg. Franklin bound Horan with duct tape, drove him to another location, and then shot Horan in the back, killing him.1 On December 27 or 28, Franklin and codefendant thirteen-year-old Pamela McCoy committed a forced invasion of the home of Alice Johnson in Leesburg. Franklin struck Johnson in the head with a hammer and stole her Toyota Camry. Johnson suffered severe injuries from this attack when pieces of her skull imbedded in her brain. Following the attack, Johnson was unable to live on her own or participate in civic and volunteer activities.2
On December 28, Franklin drove Johnson’s stolen vehicle from Leesburg to St. Petersburg to visit relatives. Franklin was accompanied by McCoy and cousins Antwanna and Adrian Butler. Late in the evening, the Butler cousins told Franklin that they wanted to return to Lake County. However, none of the group had money and Franklin had to borrow ten dollars from one of his relatives in order to buy gas for the return trip. While driving back to Lake County, Franklin showed Antwanna Butler a .357 magnum revolver he had obtained from one of his relatives in St. Petersburg. In Leesburg, Franklin stopped at the Elberta Crate and Box Factory and asked directions from the security guard, Jerry Lawley. Franklin then took the Butler cousins to an apartment building near their home. He told Antwanna Butler that he was going to return to St. Petersburg. He also stated that he was going “to get” the security guard.
Franklin returned to the crate factory in the early morning hours of December 29, 2001. He ordered Lawley out of his vehicle at gunpoint. While Lawley was complying and on his knees in the factory parking lot, Franklin shot Lawley once in the back. In statements made by Franklin after his apprehension, he stated that he shot Lawley because he “didn’t have no other choice․ What I did, I wanted to do it at the time.” Franklin rifled Lawley’s pockets and also searched Lawley’s car. However, Franklin found nothing of value and was unable to get Lawley’s car to move. Franklin left the scene and fled to St. Petersburg.
After being shot, Lawley sought help from a company truck driver, Edward Ellis. Ellis had arrived at the crate factory earlier in the evening, parked his truck in the lot, and gone to sleep in the truck cab. Lawley drove his car a short distance across the crate factory grounds to where Ellis’s truck was parked. Lawley pounded on the cab of Ellis’s truck and shouted that he had been shot. Lawley told Ellis that a tall black male wearing a knit cap had shot him. Lawley also told Ellis that the man was driving a relatively new blue car and had tried to rob him. Ellis called 911 at 5:44 a.m., and Leesburg Police Officer Joseph Iozzi responded to the scene.3 Lawley also told Officer Iozzi that a thin black male, approximately six feet tall and wearing a knit cap, had ordered him from his car at gunpoint, told him to lie on the ground, and then shot him in the back while he was doing as told. Lawley also told the officer that the man had left the scene in a newer model blue, four door car, possibly a Pontiac.
During the early morning hours of December 30, a St. Petersburg police officer came upon a blue 2000 Toyota Camry in which Franklin was asleep in the driver’s seat and codefendant McCoy was asleep in the passenger seat. Franklin was wearing gloves, and the officer found a revolver under the driver’s seat. Crime scene technicians found a spent .357 caliber shell casing and five rounds of live ammunition in the revolver. They also located a black knit skull cap in the trunk of the car. The St. Petersburg officer took Franklin and McCoy into custody. After being informed of his rights, Franklin agreed to give a statement to the police, in which he admitted shooting Lawley. Franklin also stated that he had intended to rob Lawley, but Lawley had nothing of value he could take, that he shot Lawley because he “wanted to,” and that he wore gloves so that he would not leave any fingerprints. In his statement to the St. Petersburg police, Franklin said that all of the companions who had made the original trip to St. Petersburg were in the car at the time of the shooting. However, Franklin later contradicted this statement in an interview with a reporter when he stated that only McCoy was with him during the shooting. Antwanna Butler also testified that she and her cousin had been dropped off at their home by Franklin and that they were not present during the shooting of Lawley.
While awaiting trial in the Lake County jail, Franklin contacted a newspaper reporter from the Orlando Sentinel and gave an interview in which he incriminated himself in Lawley’s murder. While parts of the taped interview were redacted, the trial court overruled Franklin’s objections to three other passages, which were played at trial. The objectionable portions included Franklin’s statements that he had decided to confess because he was “tired of life” and “tired of being treated just like an animal”; that he saw a helicopter looking for the car he was in and that he was hiding from the helicopter; and that he had committed the crime, but that “the people, the world, life” were the cause of his actions and that he was tired of people watching him and hating him and that he hated life. Defense counsel posed a relevance objection to the statements about Franklin’s motivation in confessing and objected that the statements about hiding from the helicopter could be interpreted as evidence that the car had been stolen or that the police were looking for Franklin for some other reason. Defense counsel renewed these objections at trial when the tape was introduced into evidence.