Charlottesville Court Sets Trial Date for Man Accused of 1st-Degree Murder

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Isaiah James Franklin Isaiah James Franklin
Police investigating fatal shooting along Earhart Street (FILE IMAGE) Police investigating fatal shooting along Earhart Street (FILE IMAGE)
Markwin Taleek Howard Markwin Taleek Howard

One of the men charged in connection to a fatal shooting in Charlottesville last year is now scheduled to stand trial in two months.

Isaiah James Franklin appeared in Charlottesville Circuit Court Monday, September 18, for a pre-trial hearing. The prosecution and defense did not have any motions to discuss, so the court is moving forward with a three-day trial in November.

Franklin is charged with first-degree murder in the homicide of 23-year-old Denzel "O" Morton. Police had also arrested 22-year-old Markwin Taleek Howard in connection to the shooting, charging him with attempted aggravated malicious wounding, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, and felony possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Howard took a plea deal in Charlottesville Circuit Court on March 8, 2017. The defendant entered Alford pleas to both firearm charges, meaning he did not admit guilt, but acknowledges there is enough evidence to convict him.

According to authorities, Howard shot at Franklin during a violent encounter along Earhart Street last July. Police found Morton suffering from a gunshot wound in a parking lot along the street around 3 a.m. July 17, 2016.

Morton, who is Howard's cousin, was transported to the University of Virginia Medical Center. Police said he succumbed to his injuries at the hospital.

Investigators claim surveillance video from a nearby building shows Franklin shooting and killing Morton.

Officials said evidence in the Earhart Street homicide tied Howard to a shooting in June of 2016, which is why prosecutors and Howard entered the plea agreement on the two firearm possession charges.

May 4, Howard was sentenced to serve five years with four suspended on one weapon charge, and five years with three years and seven months suspended for the other. He was also sentenced to a total of seven months for two parole violations. Howard will also have to complete five years of probation and 15 years of good behavior.

Franklin’s jury trial is scheduled to begin on November 29.