Fight over chandelier prompts foreclosure slayings

Oralandar Brand-Williams
The Detroit News

Detroit — Shutter-type window treatments and a chandelier was at the center of an altercation that claimed the lives of a father and daughter who had bought a foreclosed Rosedale Park home, according to testimony Wednesday during a preliminary examination for the man charged in the shootings.

Alonzo Long Jr., a 22-year-old relative of the current homeowner, was charged Dec. 1 with fatally shooting 72-year-old Howard Franklin and his daughter, Catherine Franklin, 37, during a gun battle outside the home around 7:30 p.m. Nov. 28.

A not-guilty plea has been entered for Long, a nephew of one of the home’s occupants. He faced 36th District Court Judge Ruth Carter during the hearing on first-degree murder charges to see if he will stand trial in the case.

Police say Long and other men were removing fixtures at the home in the 15100 block of Piedmont when they were confronted by Howard Franklin, who was trying to claim the home, which had been owned by someone else for the past six years.

Two men who testified they went to the home to help the Franklins in clearing the newly-purchased home said they saw Long with a gun and heard the arguments between people in the home and Howard Franklin before the father and daughter was shot to death.

Carlos Williams, who said he was an employee of the Franklins, said he “freaked out” when he saw Long come into the home with a gun after Long was summoned by someone in the house when the argument intensified.

Moments after Long entered the home, Williams said he saw the gunfire and then saw Catherine Franklin stumble out of the home holding a gun in her hand and collapsing on the front porch.

“I wish I hadn’t (seen it),” Williams said about seeing a bloodied Catherine Franklin collapse. “I saw her bloody and her eyes open. I freaked out.”

Another employee said that after hearing gunshots he saw Catherine Franklin lying face down unresponsive on the porch. Her father was lying in the home’s hallway.

That employee said he saw Long shooting. Both men testified the father and daughter were armed but they did not see them fire shots.

Howard Franklin and his daughter reportedly had a court order to evict the home’s occupants after it was sold in October for unpaid taxes. The Franklins paid $36,000.

It is not clear who fired the first shots in the altercation. More details about the incident are expected to come out Jan. 2 when the preliminary examination continues.

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Staff Writer Holly Fournier contributed.