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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Parole Mistake

Aired July 18, 2003 - 19:40   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: In Michigan, a clerical foulup is being blamed for the early release from prison of a drug dealer. Once freed, the man allegedly killed his former wife and her two children. He's now back behind bars. But the tragic mistake is causing a major outcry across Michigan, as you might imagine.
CNN's Mike Brooks has more now on the case and its fallout.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MIKE BROOKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Daniel Franklin had been out of prison less than a week when police say he stabbed to death his ex-wife, Mashika (ph), and her two older daughters, Raquel (ph), who is 10, and Turia (ph), who is 8.

Authorities now admit Franklin was freed from prison three years too soon.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was a clerical, a clerk that made the error in coding, and that popped it up -- it's all computerized -- and allowed him to be paroled before he should have been.

BROOKS: Franklin was a small-time drug dealer from Pontiac, Michigan, serving a sentence through 2006. But in March, the state changed its laws to allow early release on lesser drug crimes. Those who had violated parole before were not eligible.

In fact, Franklin had done exactly that. But a clerk failed to spot it and classified him as a new offender.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Had that not occurred, he would still be in prison today, and the family would still be alive.

BROOKS: Franklin left prison, again on parole, in June. The three bodies were found the first weekend he was home. Left behind, alive, in a blood-spattered upstairs bedroom, their only child, Franklin's own daughter, Denasia (ph), not yet 4. Authorities say she told police the 10-year-old girl asked for time to say good-bye to her 8-year-old sister and was never given the chance.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They was the lovely two grandkids that I have.

BROOKS: The mother of Franklin's ex-wife say they told Pontiac police days before the murders her life was being threatened. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We went down there to make a report, and I told them exactly what had happened, and they turned us away without even making a report.

BROOKS: Prosecutors say police have no record of those threats.

(on camera): Franklin has pleaded innocent. If convicted in the triple murder, he faces life in prison, this time, with no parole.

Mike Brooks, CNN, Pontiac, Michigan.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Unbelievable story.

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