Commonwealth v. Stephen James Franklin; Twelve-Time Convicted Felon to Serve 24 Years

Tuesday, August 16, 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 was sentenced by Circuit Court Judge William R. O’Brien on charges of Aggravated Malicious Wounding and Unlawful Wounding in the Commission of a Felony.   Judge O’Brien sentenced Franklin to 45 years with 21 suspended, leaving 24 years to serve.    Franklin faced a maximum sentence of life plus five (5) years.  State sentencing guidelines ranged from 13 years and 7 months to 30 years and 2 months.  The Commonwealth asked for a sentence above the high end of the guidelines due to the seriousness of the offense and the defendant’s extensive prior record.

Franklin pled guilty on April 5, 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 lived in a nearby home heard the woman’s screams for help and went outside, where he observed Franklin on top of her.  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. She was able to provide a description of Franklin to the police.  An officer recalled identifying Franklin in an unrelated incident approximately an hour earlier.  He was apprehended and ultimately confessed to the attack.


Franklin has an extensive criminal record in the cities of Virginia Beach and Chesapeake which began in 1987 when he was a juvenile.  His prior convictions include Forcible Rape, four (4) counts of Burglary, Grand Larceny, Arson, Possession of Burglary Tools, Assault, Driving under the Influence, two (2) counts of Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor, Contempt of Court, and five (5) Probation Violations.


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