The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Fake drug led to fatal punch
A dispute over $80 and some baking soda resulted in one man’s death and another being charged with involuntary manslaughter, according to testimony Friday in Stafford County General District Court.
Logan Peter Dalgarn, 23, is charged in connection with a May 30 incident in which he knocked out 20-year-old Kwesi Tyree Franklin with a single punch.
Franklin died June 1 from injuries he apparently suffered from his head hitting the asphalt, the evidence showed. Franklin suffered brain swelling and three skull fractures.
Judge Bruce Strickland certified the manslaughter charge to a grand jury after Friday’s hearing.
Defense attorney Mark Gardner briefly argued that the case merited no more than a misdemeanor assault and battery charge, but said he would save more strenuous arguments for Circuit Court.
According to the evidence presented by prosecutor Amy Casey, Franklin had texted a young woman about one to two months before his death and asked if she was interested in buying cocaine.
Julie Adkins said that Dalgarn was with her when the text came and said he expressed interest in the cocaine. Adkins, Dalgarn and Franklin had all worked together at some point.
Adkins said she drove Dalgarn to a prearranged meeting place so he could buy the drugs. Dalgarn gave Franklin $80 and got what turned out to be baking soda instead of cocaine.
FRIENDS: ACCUSED ANGRY
Several of Dalgarn’s friends testified that he was mad about being ripped off and simply wanted his money back. They said he had tried to contact Franklin without success.
Late May 30, according to the prosecution evidence, Dalgarn was near his home on Malvern Hill Court with some friends when he saw Franklin out in the neighborhood.
Matt Webber, who lived with Dalgarn, testified that he saw the two men exchanging words and then saw Dalgarn backing away from an approaching Franklin.
He said Dalgarn suddenly stopped backing away and landed the single punch.
Dalgarn, Webber and others then went back into their home and played video games.
Katie Blankenship, Webber’s girlfriend, said Franklin was still on the ground unattended when she arrived at the home. She informed the others, and testified that rescue workers were there by the time the group left the home a short time later.
NEWS VIA SOCIAL MEDIA
Witnesses said that no one was aware that Franklin was seriously hurt until seeing posts on Facebook and Twitter the next day. Another neighbor had called 911 after seeing Franklin on the ground.
Police initially thought that Franklin had suffered some sort of skateboarding accident. It wasn’t until a couple of Dalgarn’s friends went to the Sheriff’s Office that Dalgarn became a suspect.
Detective Michelle Gibbons said that Dalgarn told her a couple of differing stories before saying he had punched Franklin after Franklin came at him.
Gibbons said Dalgarn said nothing about a drug deal and told her they were arguing about $80 that Franklin had stolen from a woman’s purse.
Keith Epps: 540/374-5404