Crime

Man sentenced to 10 years for fatal shooting of bystander in Duncan Park

Antonio Franklin was memorialized during a vigil in May 2014 at Duncan Park, a month after his death at the park.
Antonio Franklin was memorialized during a vigil in May 2014 at Duncan Park, a month after his death at the park. Herald-Leader

A man who shot and killed an innocent bystander at a Lexington park was sentenced Friday to 10 years in prison.

Nasheim Tarieek Dixon, 18, also pleaded guilty to and received an additional year on a new, unrelated charge of criminal attempt to tamper with evidence.

Amanda Mullins, public defender for Dixon, sought probation for him in the 2014 shooting death of Antonio Franklin. But Fayette Circuit Judge Pamela Goodwine said she found the thought of probation for Dixon "offensive."

Meanwhile, two co-defendants, William Dixon, 18, Nasheim Dixon's cousin, and Bryan Brown, 18, were to be released from jail because they received credit for time they had already served. They had pleaded guilty in September to two counts each of wanton endangerment.

Antonio Franklin, 21, was shot in the head and was found lying near some Duncan Park swings about 6:30 p.m. April 13, 2014. He died at the University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital. Franklin was an innocent bystander, police have said.

A fourth teen, Daymion Jacobi Sanders, 17, was sentenced in August to seven years in prison. He entered an Alford plea after being charged with second-degree manslaughter. In an Alford plea, a defendant acknowledges that there is enough evidence to convict but doesn't admit guilt.

The defendants were initially arrested as juveniles but their cases were moved to adult court.

Nasheim Dixon said during his guilty plea last month that he was in a car with his cousin, William, and Brown when they saw a group of people in Duncan Park, including Sanders' friend with whom Nasheim Dixon had "some beef with."

Nasheim Dixon said he and the other person had a fistfight earlier in the night. Brown said that fight at a party was over a girl.

Nasheim Dixon said he opened fire "on impulse."

Mullins, Nasheim Dixon's attorney, said Friday he was "in fear for his life," and that he "did what he thought was his only option."

Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Paco Villalobos objected to probation, saying "Mr. Franklin had nothing to do with whatever issues were between these men."

Goodwine agreed and said probation is not appropriate "because it totally and absolutely depreciates the nature of the offense."

So she sentenced him to 10 years on charges of second-degree manslaughter and two counts of first-degree wanton endangerment.

The charge of attempted tampering with physical evidence came not through an indictment, but through an information. An information is a formal charge issued directly by a prosecutor and not through a grand jury.

Villalobos and Mullins said that offense occurred while Nasheim Dixon was out on bond after the initial charges were filed in the Franklin case. By law, the 12 months he received on that charge must run consecutively to the 10-year sentence.

Franklin's mother, Anita Franklin, became a visible figure in efforts to prevent violence in Lexington. She began organizing peace walks after her son was killed.

"My mission doesn't stop today," she said after court on Friday. She said she "will continue to educate and be an advocate for the young adults that want to make something positive out of their lives."

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