The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office declined to file anything more than a low-level gun charge against a woman who allegedly shot her brother to death during an argument in Little Italy over the weekend.
At one point during Denise Franklin’s bail hearing on Tuesday afternoon, the judge stopped a prosecutor to confirm that he was presenting the correct allegations because his description of the case sounded far different from a simple gun possession charge.
Franklin’s brother, 33-year-old Patrick Holmes, was shot to death in the 1300 block of West Roosevelt at 4:27 a.m. Sunday, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office. Shortly after the shooting, Chicago police released a media statement that said he was fatally shot in a drive-by while getting out of a car.
Prosecutors painted a much different picture on Tuesday: Franklin and Holmes, 28, began arguing while riding as passengers in a car with two other people, Assistant State’s Attorney Sean Kelly said.
At one point, Holmes, seated in the back seat, punched his sister in the face as she rode in the front. The two exited the car, and Franklin pushed her brother against a fence, Kelly said, noting that Holmes was almost a foot taller than his sister.
“State,” Judge Susana Ortiz interrupted, “which proffer are you giving me?”
“Your honor, I’m reading the proffer for Ms. Franklin,” Kelly replied.
“Alright. I’m showing a Class 4 aggravated unlawful use of a weapon,” Ortiz noted. “Is that not correct?”
“No,” assured Kelly, “that’s 100% correct.”
“OK. Alright. Go ahead.”
Kelly continued: Franklin went back to the car, and Holmes started banging on the window while Franklin made remarks about having a pistol. Then, while still in the car, Franklin allegedly pulled out a handgun and loaded it with two bullets. Holmes challenged his sister to shoot him.
At that point, Franklin allegedly fired a warning shot that flew through the third-floor window of a nearby building.
Holmes continued to approach the vehicle, and Franklin fired the second bullet, striking him in the chest, Kelly said. He died a short time later.
Kelly said Franklin was not at the scene when police arrived. She allegedly left and took the gun with her, but she later surrendered to police and handed over the weapon. He said she possessed a license to own firearms, but she did not have a concealed carry permit.
“I would note,” Kelly concluded, “that more serious charges in this case were rejected [by the state’s attorney’s office.]”
“More serious charges were rejected?” Ortiz asked.
“Correct,” Kelly confirmed.
Assistant Public Defender Suzin Farber said Franklin has no criminal background and “there may be an issue of self-defense” since prosecutors refused to charge Franklin with anything more than aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, the state’s lowest-level felony gun violation.
“It obviously is certainly a very unique set of circumstances for a Class 4 aggravated unlawful use of a weapon,” Ortiz said. “There appears not to be the likelihood of any greater charges here.”
She then set bail at $5,000, meaning Franklin will go home after posting a $500 bail deposit. Ortiz ordered her to surrender her gun license and any other firearms when she gets out of jail.
Franklin is due back in court on July 6.