Commonwealth v. Stephen James Franklin; Guilty Plea in Beach Attack

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Harvey L. Bryant, Commonwealth’s Attorney for the City of Virginia Beach, announced today that Stephen James Franklin, 40 years old, previously residing in the 1000 block Taft Road in Chesapeake, Virginia pleaded guilty before Circuit Court Judge William R. O’Brien to charges of Aggravated Malicious Wounding and Unlawful Wounding in the Commission of a Felony.   The sentencing will take place on August 16, 2011.


Had this matter gone to trial, the Commonwealth’s evidence would have proved that just before 2:00 a.m. on August 21, 2010, a young woman was walking along the beach near the Virginia Beach Resort Hotel and Conference Center off Shore Drive.  As she walked back toward her hotel, Stephen James Franklin approached her from behind and cut the left side of her throat with a sharp object.  He placed his hands on her shoulders, forcing her to the ground.  As she stood up and faced Franklin, she asked him to identify himself and threatened to call the police. He tackled her, and she lost her phone, glasses, and shoes in the struggle.


A doctor who resided in a nearby home heard the victim’s screams for help and went outside, where he observed Franklin on top of the woman.  Franklin then fled.  The doctor administered first aid to the three (3) inch long laceration to her neck, which barely missed her carotid artery.  Virginia Beach police and emergency medical personnel quickly responded, and the woman was transported to Virginia Beach General Hospital where she underwent surgery. The victim was able to provide a description of Franklin to the police, who recalled a brief encounter with Franklin approximately an hour earlier.  Franklin was apprehended and ultimately confessed to the attack.


Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Thomas M. Murphy and Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Elizabeth M. Bradley prosecuted the case.  Please call Macie Pridgen if additional information is desired.