Mistrial declared at murder trial of Urbana man

Mistrial declared at murder trial of Urbana man

URBANA — A Champaign County judge declared a mistrial Wednesday afternoon in the case of an Urbana man accused of murdering his stepfather.

Judge Harry Clem set Tyrone Franklin's retrial for Feb. 27.

After deliberating about seven hours over two days, jurors told Clem they could not reach a unanimous verdict.

Franklin, 19, was charged with the Dec. 19, 2008, first-degree murder of James Ellis.

Ellis, 34, was shot three times in a struggle with Franklin that occurred in a garage that had been converted to living quarters in the 1900 block of Joanne Lane in Champaign. He was living there with Franklin's mother, Melinda Ellis. Also present in the two-room residence at the time of the killing were three children.

Franklin was 16 when the offense happened but wasn't criminally charged until August 2010. Police developed him and three other men as suspects through persistence in chasing leads.

Assistant State's Attorney Dan Clifton has prosecuted the men. Urbana attorney Alfred Ivy represented Franklin.

Also charged with Ellis' murder were Jonathan Brumfield, 22, who testified in Franklin's trial that he and co-defendant Laniel Bradley, 22, of Urbana, stayed outside in a car while Franklin and another man, Demarco Taylor, 20, of Urbana, went in the living quarters, intent on getting drugs and money from Ellis, who was a drug dealer.

Taylor was convicted of murder earlier this year and is serving a 40-year sentence. Bradley pleaded guilty in March to supplying the gun that Franklin used and was sentenced to four years in prison.

Clifton said he has made an offer to Brumfield that would allow him to plead guilty to concealment of a homicidal death in return for a recommendation that he serve no more than eight years in prison. No date for that plea has been set.

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Tags (1):murder trial


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