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Vet gets probation for weapons offense that could have landed him in jail for 15 years

By EDITH BRADY-LUNNY | The Pantagraph, Bloomington, Ill. | Published: November 4, 2017

BLOOMINGTON (Tribune News Service) — The military service of a Bloomington man, together with his history of mental health issues related to that service, contributed to a prosecutor's recommendation Friday that probation rather than prison was an appropriate sentence in a weapons case.

Corey Franklin was charged in October 2016 with firing a gun at a man on Bloomington's west side. No one was injured, but the 38-year-old Bloomington man was charged with aggravated discharge of a firearm, a felony that carries a possible penalty of 15 years in prison.

A mental health evaluation was ordered for Franklin, but the doctor's conclusions were never introduced as evidence. Franklin fired his public defender Philip Finegan before a bench trial in July in which the defendant represented himself and did not ask that the mental health report be considered by the judge.

Franklin was convicted of the weapons charge.

At Friday's sentencing hearing, First Assistant State's Attorney Adam Ghrist recommended 48 months of probation and requirements that Franklin cooperate with all recommendations, including medication, related to mental health treatment.

A recommended jail term of 180 days in jail has been more than satisfied by the time Franklin served since his arrest almost a year ago.

Sitting alone at the defense table, Franklin said he did not have anything to say when asked if he wanted to make a statement before the sentence was imposed.

Absent the psychological disability related to military service, a prison term would have been a reasonable recommendation from the state, Freitag told Franklin.

"It goes without saying that this is a very serious matter. The potential for someone to be injured was very, very great," said Freitag.

A pre-sentence report outlining Franklin's mental health diagnoses and his service with the U.S. Navy in Iraq and Afghanistan were reviewed by the judge. Cooperation with mental health professionals, including those connected with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, is crucial to Franklin's success on probation, the judge told the defendant.

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(c)2017 The Pantagraph (Bloomington, Ill.)
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