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Franks gets 45 years for double murder


By Cory Engle  

A Cross Hill man was sentenced to 45 years in prison this week, after a jury found him guilty of a double homicide in early 2014.

Circuit Judge Frank R. Addy, Jr. handed down the sentence Friday, after three days of testimony in the trial of the State vs. Deshanndon Markelle Franks, 29, who was charged with the murders of Sammie Dyron Leake and his niece, Nikesha Travarea James, in the early morning hours of Jan. 31, 2014.

Leake and James were found shot and killed in their home on Haven Dale Drive on the morning of Feb. 1, 2014, by a relative who went to check on them. Franks was arrested and charged with their murders three days later, along with Tevin Oneil Hill.

Deputy Solicitor Warren Mowry and Assistant Solicitor Lance Sheek represented the Eighth Circuit Solicitor’s Office, while Franks was represented by Greenville defense attorney J. Falknew Wilkes. After calling witnesses on Tuesday and Wednesday, both sides rested their cases Thursday and gave closing arguments.

Jurors left to deliberate Thursday afternoon, retiring for the evening after not reaching a verdict. They returned the following morning to continue deliberations, reaching guilty verdicts on both counts of murder and one count of pointing and presenting a firearm later that day.

Addy sentenced Franks to 45 years for each murder conviction and five years for pointing and presenting a firearm, with all sentences to run concurrently.

Hill, who took the stand for the prosecution on Wednesday, still faces charges of misprison of a felony.

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