Witness Links Suspect To U-M Med Student’s Death
ANN ARBOR (WWJ/AP) - A man who pleaded guilty in the fatal shooting of a University of Michigan medical student has provided crucial details during testimony against an alleged accomplice.
A Washtenaw County judge on Friday determined there was enough evidence to bound 21-year-old Dajeon Franklin over for trial in the murder of Paul DeWolf.
In addition to DNA evidence that shows DeWolf’s blood was found on Franklin’s shoes, the judge was swayed by testimony of co-defendant Shaquille Jones, 20, who provided the court with a firsthand account of how the 25-year-old was killed.
Jones, of North Charleston, S.C., testified that Franklin, of Pittsfield Township, fired the gun that killed DeWolf last July at an off-campus fraternity house for medical students.
Jones said he and 20-year-old co-defendant Joei Jordan, of Sumter, S.C., were living with Jordan’s grandmother in Ypsilanti, not far from the U-M campus. Franklin is Jordan’s cousin.
According to Jones, the trio traveled to Ann Arbor to break into houses, including the one that contained DeWolf’s apartment, to steal mostly small, valuable items. He said they went into the Phi Ro Sigma house and Jordan took a PlayStation 3, but then they heard someone stirring in the house so they fled out the basement door they entered through.
Jones said the group walked a few blocks away and rehashed a plan to go back to the frat house, located in the 200 block of North Ingalls Street, because Jordan “thought something was in there worth taking.” Before doing that though, Jordan stashed his backpack with the stolen items nearby, Jones said.
When they went back to the Phi Ro Sigma house, Jones said that’s when they encountered DeWolf in a basement bedroom. Jones said the room was very dark and they didn’t know DeWolf was home, until he asked, “Who’s there?” and stood up near his bed.
Jones said he saw DeWolf grabbing for either Franklin or the gun he was holding and after a brief struggle, the gun went off. The trio then fled the scene. DeWolf’s body was found the next morning, in a pool of blood with a single gunshot wound to the neck.
Later on the day DeWolf’s body was found, Jones said he and Jordan returned to the scene of the crime because Jordan wanted to get his backpack with the stolen items. After driving past multiple police cruisers and walking by yellow crime scene tape, Jordan apparently grabbed the stashed bag and left undetected.
Jones said a few days went by before he learned that DeWolf was killed in the shooting.
Police eventually recovered the stolen items and traced them back to Jones and Jordan, who sold them before returning to South Carolina. The trio was taken into custody months later in November.
Jones faces a minimum of 18 years in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree murder. Sentencing is scheduled for April 16.
Jordan, who’s charged with an open murder and three counts of first-degree home invasion, has a jury trial scheduled to begin May 19.
Franklin, who is currently serving a sentence for an unrelated home invasion case, is due back in court for a pretrial hearing on May 21.
All three are being held without bond in the Washtenaw County Jail.
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