A former defendant in the death of a Tabor College football player testified Tuesday in McPherson County District Court saying he held the victim down during a confrontation at an off-campus party.
DeQuinte Flournoy testified Tuesday in the case against Alton Franklin of Dallas. Franklin is charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder in the Sept. 16 beating death of Brandon Brown, 26, of California.
Flournoy and Franklin were both dorm roommates and former football players at McPherson College.
Flournoy testified Tuesday he, Franklin and two other McPherson College students went to a McPherson bar the night Brown was injured. There Flournoy said he met and casually talked to Brown and two other Tabor College football players, Ilai Eteaki and Lepanona Fuimaono.
Flournoy testified he and the Tabor College students shared a pitcher of beer at the bar.
Later that evening, the McPherson College students and Tabor College students went to a party at McPherson College football player Demarcus Trotter’s home.
At some point in the early hours of Sept. 16, Brown and Eteaki became loud and disruptive, Flournoy testified. Those at the party, including Flournoy attempted to lock Brown and Eteaki out of Trotter’s house, Flournoy said. As they were doing so, Flournoy said he saw a shinny metal object in Brown’s hand he believed to be a knife. The two Tabor College students were successfully locked out of the house, Flournoy said.
The group left inside the house heard banging on the door, and a short time later one of the house’s front windows was broken.
Trotter exited the house to confront Eteaki, who was standing near the broken window, Flournoy said.
Flournoy watched as Trotter and Eteaki argued. At some point, Eteaki started to run away, and Flournoy said he turned to see Brown lying on the ground in the yard with defendant Alton Franklin and another football player, Torry Hamill, standing next to him. Hamill was holding a large board, Flournoy said. He said he saw Brown start to get up and reach toward his left pocket.
Flournoy said he lightly pushed Brown’s head down to the ground and told him to stay down twice.
“I presumed he was going to pull out a knife,” Flournoy said. “I assumed if I pushed him down, it would not escalate.”
Shortly after this, the police arrived and Hamill, Franklin, Flournoy and others ran from the party.
Flournoy said he learned after the party, Brown had been seriously injured. Flournoy admitted during his testimony that when police questioned him, he lied and told them he left the party after the window was broken.
Page 2 of 2 - Flournoy had originally also been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder in this case.
He pleaded no contest last week to a lesser charge of aggravated battery in exchange for his testimony in Franklin’s case. Flournoy has no criminal record and likely will be given probation on his charge.
Flournoy had been in jail since his arrest in September. His bond was reduced, and he was able to bond out of jail after his plea was entered. He has yet to be sentenced.
McPherson County Attorney David Page asked Flournoy Tuesday during his testimony why he agreed to the plea deal.
“After a while of being in jail, I didn’t feel a murder charge reflected my actions that night,” he said. “I kept thinking about his children. They are going to grow up without a father. I grew up without a father, and I would not wish that on no man or woman.”
McPherson Police Officer Richard Rogers also testified Tuesday in the case. A 40-minute video from his dash cam the night Brown was injured was shown to the jury. The video showed Brown lying on the ground in the yard at the house on North Carrie Street and firefighters and EMS personnel rendering Brown aid.
The trial almost ended Tuesday in a mistrial. One juror was excused because the juror revealed involvement in a prior discrimination lawsuit. A second juror on the case was an employee of the excused juror and talked to the excused juror about the previous lawsuit Tuesday morning.
Page requested a mistrial saying he had concerns the two of the jurors had discussed the case despite being instructed not to.
Defense attorney David Harger said he had concerns about the issue with the jurors but said his client has been in jail for a long time and wished to proceed with the trial.
Judge Richard Walker said the jurors had not discussed the facts in the case and the remaining juror said she could still be impartial in the case. Walker denied Page’s motion and allowed the case to continue.