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Fatal punch lands man in prison for one year

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A Stafford County man was ordered Tuesday to serve a year in prison for a punch that resulted in another man’s death.

Kwasi Tyree Franklin, 20, died last June 1 from injuries he suffered from his head hitting the asphalt after being punched on Malvern Hill Court north of Stafford Courthouse. Franklin suffered brain swelling and three skull fractures.

Logan Peter Dalgarn, 24, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in Stafford Circuit Court.

Judge Sarah Deneke sentenced Dalgarn to five years in prison with four years suspended.

The judge’s sentence was above the recommended state sentencing guidelines, which called for a maximum penalty of six months to serve.

In exchange for Dalgarn’s guilty plea, prosecutors Amy Casey and George Elsasser dropped three other charges.

The prosecution evidence showed that the dispute between Dalgarn and Franklin stemmed from an $80 drug deal that went bad.

Dalgarn and a young woman had paid Franklin money for cocaine that turned out to be baking soda, according to testimony in an earlier hearing.

The drug deal had taken place about a month before Franklin’s death, witnesses said at the preliminary hearing.

Dalgarn combined his money with the young woman’s and was with her when the deal was made.

After realizing that what was purchased was not cocaine, Dalgarn’s friends said he was upset about being ripped off.

Dalgarn tried several times to contact Franklin, according to statements made in court, even going to Franklin’s home at least twice when he wasn’t there.

Late on May 30, 2013, Dalgarn was at his home on Malvern Hill Court when friends told him Franklin was outside skateboarding.

Matt Webber, who lived with Dalgarn at the time, 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, sending Franklin to the ground.

Dalgarn, Webber and others then went back into their home and played video games. None of the witnesses thought Franklin was seriously injured.

About 20 to 30 minutes later, Webber’s girlfriend showed up at the home and informed the group that Franklin was still on the ground.

Someone else had called for help by then, and rescue workers were with Franklin by the time Dalgarn and the others went outside.

Police were initially unaware of what happened to Franklin, and rumors spread via social media that he had suffered a skateboarding accident.

Webber and his girlfriend, Katie Blankenship, eventually went to police and told them about the punch.

Detective Michelle Gibbons then talked to Dalgarn, who gave several different stories before admitting that he punched Franklin. He didn’t tell the detective about the drug deal.

Franklin’s parents and younger brother testified Tuesday about the devastating impact his death has had on the family.

“Eighty dollars is what his life was worth in this case,” Marcus Franklin said. “If I had known, I would have paid it myself.”

Unice Franklin, the victim’s mother, said her son’s death has “left a void that will never be filled.”

Elsasser said that although no one believes Dalgarn intended to kill Franklin, he deserves more time than what the guidelines call for.

“It was his act of violence that set this in motion,” Elsasser said. “And he did nothing to get help.”

Casey said that had Franklin gotten medical attention sooner, his chances of survival would have been greater.

Defense attorney Mark Gardner pointed out that no one who saw the incident thought Franklin was seriously hurt.

“The reality is that young men fight,” Gardner said. “The consequences in this case were unintended and unforeseeable.”

Dalgarn, who said he prays every day that Franklin’s family finds healing through God’s grace, was also ordered to make $4,419 in restitution to the Franklin family.

Keith Epps: 540/374-5404

kepps@freelancestar.com

 

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