FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – A Fort Wayne man accused of shooting two other men last year accepted a plea deal with Allen County prosecutors Friday that would have him serve no more than 25 years in prison.
Jaquell Franklin, 28, pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated battery connected to the shootings, which happened July 29, 2022 in the 4500 block of Gaywood Drive, according to Allen Superior Court documents.
The deal he made with prosecutors calls for the judge overseeing the proceedings to impose any sentence he sees fit, but the executed portion should be no longer than 25 years, court documents said.
Fort Wayne police were called to the area shortly before 5 p.m. that day and found two men suffering from gunshot wounds in a parked tow truck, court documents said.
Witnesses at the scene as well as at least one of the men told investigators a Ford Focus with dark tinted windows drove by the truck and someone opened fire from the inside, according to court documents.
One of the victims identified Franklin as the possible shooter, according to court documents, and said he and Franklin had problems with each other in the past.
One of the men suffered a gunshot wound to his elbow while the other man suffered multiple gunshot wounds which caused his lung to be lacerated and paralysis in his lower body, court documents said.
At the scene, the same kind of shell casings from a .40 caliber Smith & Wesson handgun were found. Surveillance footage available from neighborhood residents showed the sedan with dark colored rims driving south on Gaywood and stopping in front of the victim’s red tow truck.
Franklin was tracked down after homicide detectives located a gray 2010 Ford Focus that belonged to Franklin’s mother and put an alert on this vehicle, the same vehicle was tracked to Porter County. Court documents say Porter County authorities found two boxes of ammunition and one box with .40 caliber bullets. Police also located a universal style holster and two cell phones.
Franklin’s cell phone was tracked to a friend who’d been in a romantic relationship with Franklin for more than a year. Just after the shooting, police discovered he arrived at her residence. He was wearing his fanny pack and firearm and “put the gun in the couch cushions like he typically does,” court documents said.
When he came back a couple of days later, Franklin told her he went to Indianapolis for the weekend, but he seemed “off.”
Police arrested Franklin a few weeks after the shooting after he was pulled over by the Porter County Sheriff’s and the Valparaiso Police departments.
“According to Valparaiso police, he had all of his bags packed and he told them he was moving to Chicago,” Matt Wilson, head of Fort Wayne homicide, told WANE 15 shortly after his arrest.
As part of his plea deal, prosecutors agreed not to file charges related to another police report from 2022, though the details of that report were not disclosed in court records.
Counts of attempted murder and a sentencing enhancement for using a firearm in a crime will also be dropped if a judge accepts the deal at his sentencing.
Franklin is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 6.