Suspect charged in murder of Tabor student

News editor

Alton Lamont Franklin of Dallas, Texas, has been charged with aiding and abetting murder in the second degree after Tabor College junior and football player Brandon Brown died at 10:16 p.m. Saturday of injuries sustained Sept. 16 in McPherson.

Brown, 26, of Sacramento, Calif., was found beaten and unconscious shortly after 4 a.m. Sept. 16 in the 400 block of North Carrie Street, two blocks west of the McPherson College campus. He was transported first to McPherson Hospital, then to Via Christi St. Francis in Wichita. He was the father of two children, a 3-year-old son and 7-month-old daughter.

Geoff Jones, Brown’s former coach at Santa Ana College in Santa Ana, Calif., said he never had any concerns about Brown getting into trouble.

“He always seemed very focused as a student athlete and making himself better as a person,” Jones said Monday. “I’m just sickened and saddened for what happened, and I feel so deeply for Brandon’s family and little ones that he left at home. This is a completely senseless tragedy.”

Franklin, 19, was arrested Saturday on a charge of aggravated battery. The charge was amended to aiding and abetting murder in the second degree Monday following Brown’s death. He remains in McPherson County Jail on $500,000 bond.

Hillsboro Police Chief Dan Kinning, who is not part of the investigation, said the charge suggests additional arrests in the case are likely. Aiding and abetting essentially means being an accomplice or assisting in a crime, Kinning said. Kansas statutes define murder in the second degree as killing someone either intentionally but not premeditated, or “unintentionally but recklessly under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life.”

Brown was 6-foot-3 and weighed 280 pounds, according to the Tabor College football roster, which listed him as a defensive lineman. He was listed as redshirting this year, which means he couldn’t play but did practice with the team.

Franklin was listed on McPherson College’s 2011 football roster as 5-foot-7, 178 pounds. He is not listed on the 2012 roster.

Without mentioning Franklin by name, a press release from McPherson college indicated he was still a student at the college prior to the incident. He has since been suspended from the college by the Campus Conduct Committee.

McPherson Chief of Police Robert McClarty refused Monday to answer questions about whether any weapons or multiple assailants were involved in the incident, what events led to the incident, or whether an autopsy was or would be done.

Marion County Coroner JoAnn Knak said an autopsy was almost certain to be done because of the nature of Brown’s death.

Brown got started in college football at a much later age than most players, joining Santa Ana College at age 24.

“I’m really not sure how Brandon ended up here at SAC,” Jones said. “He just kind of showed up one day. Coaches don’t get many guys that just walk through the door that have his athletic makeup.”

Jones thought Brown decided to attend Tabor College because several other Santa Ana players recruited him. Tabor College’s roster lists four other players who previously played at Santa Ana College.

Jones said he has been in touch with Anthony Daniel, who has been Brown’s teammate at Santa Ana College and Tabor College, about the possibility of memorializing Brown with stickers on both colleges’ helmets.

A public memorial service was Tuesday in Hillsboro.

A fund to assist Brown’s family with expenses has been set up at Emprise Bank in Hillsboro. Counseling services have been made available to students through the Tabor College Student Life office.

 

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