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City twins get identical two-year sentences

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Twin brothers who led a burglary and destruction spree in Fredericksburg last year got identical sentences Thursday.

Issac and Joshua Franklin, 19, of Fredericksburg were both ordered in City Circuit Court to serve two years in prison.

Judge William Shaw III gave both brothers 55 years in prison with all but the two years suspended.

The active sentence was within the recommended state sentencing guidelines, which called for between a year and seven months to four years in prison.

According to the evidence presented by prosecutor Travis Bird, the Franklins and five other local young men broke into five different city businesses between March and June, some of them multiple times.

Among those businesses was the law office of the Franklins’ father. The group went by the name “Parliament,” Bird said.

Among the evidence recovered from the cellphone of one of the suspects was a video showing another suspect jumping off a roof onto the top of a car, causing more than $1,000 worth of damage.

Four of the other five co-defendants pleaded guilty to felonies and got active prison time ranging from 90 to 120 days. The fifth defendant was involved in just one incident and got a suspended sentence on misdemeanor convictions.

Issac Franklin’s attorney, Jim Ilijevich, argued that his client didn’t deserve so much more time than the others. He also disputed claims by the others that the Franklins were the ringleaders of the group.

“This was a group of friends who made stupid decisions and carried them out,” Ilijevich said.

Joshua Franklin’s lawyer, John Spencer, also disputed the ringleader allegation. But he didn’t argue against the prison sentence.

“This whole crew ran amok on this town, and we realize we just can’t have that,” Spencer said.

Bird said the Franklins deserved longer prison terms because, unlike the others, they were involved in every incident.

He also said the Franklins had extensive juvenile records while the others had little to no prior record.

“It would fly in the face of reason for [them] not to go to jail,” Bird said.

Both brothers gave statements prior to sentencing in which they acknowledged responsibility for their actions and vowed to make amends.

“I sabotaged myself,” Joshua Franklin said to the judge. “Whatever you give me is fully justified.”

Keith Epps: 540/374-5404

kepps@freelancestar.com

 

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