2 trials granted in armed robbery
Lincoln County Circuit Court Judge Michael M. Taylor granted a motion Tuesday allowing two men accused of conspiracy, armed robbery and burglary to hold separate trials. One of those trials will be held today.
Alvin B. Franklin, 24, and Jawon D. Williams, 24, are both accused of breaking into a home on Chestnut Lane in Bogue Chitto on May 23, 2014. The residents were present at the time of the incident when Franklin and Williams are alleged to have stolen cash, cell phones and a handbag at gunpoint, according to the Nov. 24, 2014, indictment.
The pair are also alleged to have struck one of the residents in the face with the weapon during the incident.
Circuit Clerk Dustin Bairfield said that while the judge did grant the motion to sever the two cases, a determination was not made about which trial would be held today. Taylor will make the final decision this morning. The other defendant’s trial will be held at a later date.
Public defender Jason E. Tate’s arguments for splitting the cases include that juries would have difficulty distinguishing between alleged actions of one defendant or the other, while evidence admissible against one defendant may not be admissible against the other.
He also raised constitutional concerns that defendants have a right to testify or not in their own trial, and one defendant should also have the right to call the other to the stand.
The motion was filed for Williams, who could potentially face life in prison as a habitual offender after it was determined that he pleaded guilty to two separate instances of receiving stolen property in 2012.