Guilty plea, dismissal end case against son in alleged murder plot

Steven Franklin
Steven Franklin

Wake County prosecutors have dismissed a charge that Steven Donald Franklin conspired with his mother, Tammy, to murder his father almost a year ago. He pleaded guilty last month to a charge of assaulting his father with intent to kill and was placed on probation, according to court and state prison records.

The charges against Steven Franklin, now 24, stemmed from what Wake County sheriff’s investigators said was an attempt on the life of Donald Franklin, Steven’s father and Tammy’s husband, on Halloween 2015 and an alleged plot to cash in on a life insurance policy that investigators said began the previous May.

On that Halloween, authorities charged, Steven asked Donald to help him get a heavy box of tools from an attic over the garage at a 5,100-square-foot home where the family was living at 6825 Greywalls Lane. Then the son, they alleged, pushed the father on the stairs toward a rake that had been placed with the tines facing up at the bottom.

Donald Franklin dropped the box and avoided the plunge, officials said.

The son then tried to stab the father with a 4-inch knife, deputies charged. Donald Franklin fled the house and called authorities.

Steven and Tammy Franklin were both arrested last Nov. 9. on conspiracy charges. Authorities had arrested Tammy Franklin a few days earlier on charges of intimidating a witness, her husband, and communicating threats.

A Wake County grand jury indicted Steven Franklin on a charge of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury and one count of felony conspiracy.

On Sept. 26, Steven was allowed to plead guilty to a reduced charge of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill. The “serious injury” aspect of the charged was dropped.

The same day, prosecutors asked a judge to dismiss the conspiracy charge without leave, meaning they cannot bring the same charge for the same circumstances against Steven Franklin again.

State Division of Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice records show that Steven was then put on two years’ probation.

Tammy Franklin is still in the Wake County Detention Center in lieu of $650,000 bail.

The conspiracy of which Tammy Franklin is accused began in May 2015, when, the sheriff’s office charged, she heckled her husband until he signed paperwork for a $1 million life insurance policy on him. Investigators said in arrest warrants that she told them the policy covered Donald and her.

In the week after the Halloween incident, the sheriff’s office said in a search warrant application, Donald Franklin learned that his wife had arranged to have his salary from his job deposited into a new bank account that she controlled.

Deputies also charged that when they were trying to question Steven after the Halloween incident, Tammy Franklin sent him to her parents’ home in Western North Carolina while telling investigators he had gone to Washington, D.C.

Ron Gallagher: 919-829-4572, @RPGKT