Execution postponed for man who bludgeoned grandparents, uncle with baseball bat in Dayton

Antonio Franklin

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Antonio Franklin

A man who was convicted of killing his uncle and grandparents before setting their Dayton home on fire in 1997 had his execution date postponed by the Ohio governor.

Antonio Sanchez Franklin, 43, was set to be executed on Jan. 12, 2023 but now has a new date, Feb. 11, 2026. Ohio hasn’t executed an inmate since July 2018 when it killed Robert Van Hook.

Gov. Mike DeWine issued the reprieve on Friday.

ExploreFrom the archives: Death Row for Franklin, jury decides

Firefighters found the bodies of 76-year-old Ivory Franklin and his wife, 71-year-old Ophelia, shortly after arriving at the couple’s home. They found the body of 38-year-old Anthony Franklin two hours later.

“By the time they found Anthony Franklin two hours later, his body had almost disintegrated from the heat,” a court filing said. “All three had been beaten with a baseball bat; Ophelia also had been shot in the face.”

It was determined that Ivory and Anthony Franklin died of blunt force trauma and smoke inhalation while an autopsy said that either the gunshot wound or blunt force injuries could have killed Ophelia Franklin. It also was determined that the fire was purposefully set by Antonio Franklin.

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Flowers were placed in front of the burned out house of Ivory and Ophelia Franklin at 39 Riegal St. in Dayton. SKIP PETERSON/STAFF FILE

Credit: Skip Peterson/File

Flowers were placed in front of the burned out house of Ivory and Ophelia Franklin at 39 Riegal St. in Dayton. SKIP PETERSON/STAFF FILE

Credit: Skip Peterson/File

Combined ShapeCaption
Flowers were placed in front of the burned out house of Ivory and Ophelia Franklin at 39 Riegal St. in Dayton. SKIP PETERSON/STAFF FILE

Credit: Skip Peterson/File

Credit: Skip Peterson/File

Franklin, who was 18 at the time of the homicides, told detectives he killed his grandparents and uncle because they were mistreating him. His grandparents reportedly had given him 30 days to find a new place to live because they could no longer condone his joblessness and truancy from school. Franklin also claimed his uncle raped him four years earlier and accused him of being gay on the day of the killings, court filings show.

Along with issuing the reprieve for Franklin, DeWine also moved the execution of Stanley Fitzpatrick from Feb. 15 to April 16, 2026. Fitzpatrick was sentenced to die for killing his girlfriend, his girlfriend’s 12-year-old daughter, and a neighbor in Hamilton County in 2001.

DeWine, a Republican, has attributed the need for the reprieves to the state’s ongoing inability to obtain drugs for lethal injection from pharmaceutical companies.

Nine men are still scheduled for execution next year though more reprieves are expected.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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