McPherson County District Court Judge Richard Walker released the jury early on Friday after problems arose with two witnesses in the murder trial of a former McPherson College football player.

McPherson County District Court Judge Richard Walker released the jury early on Friday after problems arose with two witnesses in the murder trial of a former McPherson College football player.

Alton Franklin of Dallas has been charged with second-degree murder related to the alleged beating of Tabor College football player Brandon Brown, 26, California.

Franklin, a former McPherson College football player, was at an off-campus party with Brown, other McPherson College students and two other Tabor College football players during the early morning hours of Sept. 16 in McPherson.

Walker delayed until Monday the testimony of a jailhouse witness who will allegedly testify about a statement Franklin made to the witness while in the McPherson County Jail.

The witness was identified in court, but the state has asked the witness not be identified by the media because of threats made against him.

Outside of the presence of the jury, Page introduced a letter in which this inmate alleges Franklin told him he would have gotten away with the crime had he not been wearing a yellow hat the night of the party.

Surveillance tapes introduced earlier in thetrial show Franklin wearing a yellow baseball hat the night Brown was injured. A yellow hat belonging to Franklin also was seized from Franklin’s dorm room. That hat was submitted to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation laboratory for testing along with Franklin’s shoes and other items of his clothing, and none of Brown’s blood was found on those items.

Defense attorney David Harger objected to the jailhouse witness being allowed to testify. He said the defense had only received the witness’ criminal history on Monday and had not had time to adequately prepare questions impeaching his testimony based on that criminal record.

Walker said he would delay the witness’ testimony until Monday to allow the defense to prepare.

The state also is waiting on another witness, Taajon Richardson, who did not show up to testify. Page said he had contacted Richardson multiple times and sent him three subpoenas. He sent Richardson a plane ticket, and he was supposed to be on a plane to Wichita on Monday. However, he never showed up. The state was able to contact Richardson Friday, and Page assured Walker that Richardson would be on a plane Sunday and available to testify Monday in court.

Richardson also was a McPherson College football player and at the party the night Brown was injured.
Earlier in the day, the jury watched a more than hour-long video of a police interview with Franklin. During the interview, Franklin repeatedly denied striking Brown.

“I’m not a killer,” Franklin told detectives at one point, and “I didn’t do nothing,” he said at another point in the interview.

After the video was played, Harger asked Det. Mikel Golden of the McPherson Police Department, who helped conduct the interview, if he had checked Franklin’s hands for any injuries.

Golden said he did not ask anyone about injuries to Franklin’s hands.

Golden also testified during cross-examination that although a search warrant was issued for Franklin’s room, searches were never conducted of Richardson’s room or Torry Hamill’s room, who also admitted to being at the party.

Also earlier in the day, Officer Christopher Somers of the McPherson Police Department said he took a picture of Ilai Eteaki, a Tabor College student, the night of the incident. He had a cut on his hand. A knife also was found at the scene with Eteaki’s blood on it, according to KBI analysis. A door from 438 N. Carrie St., was introduced into evidence earlier in the trial. That door had nine knife marks on it that matched the knife that was found at the scene. Former defendant and state’s witness DeQuinte Flournoy said he thought he saw a knife in Brown’s hand at one point in the night. However, the knife was found closed some distance away from Brown’s body when police arrived, officers testified.

The trial will resume at 9 a.m. Monday.

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