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Lassen County Times
Susanville, California
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July 11, 2000     Lassen County Times
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July 11, 2000
 

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lOB Tuesday, July 11,2000 ,a m Lassen County Times/WestwoodP Experienced outdoorsman saw nothing wrong with Franklin's snowmobile00. Expert testifies in death of Ronna Franklin By Dave Keller Staff Writer A veteran snowmobile rid- er and mechanic said he saw no signs of an accident when he arrived at the Bucks Lake scene of Ronna Franklin's December 1996 death. Joe Blackwell, who is also a search and rescue worker and reserve Plumas County sheriffs deputy, said he ex- amined both the scene and the snowmobile that carried the woman prior to her death. Blackwell appeared as a witness last week for Plumas County District Attorney James Reichle, who is trying to convince, a jury that Michael E. Franklin killed wife Ronna and staged an accident in order to collect $2 million in life insurance. "It appeared that they just parked. There was nothing wrong with (the snoanobile) that I could tell just by standing there looking," Blackwell said. "It appeared that they came around the corner, started downhill and just pulled over and parked on the shoulder." Blackwell's testimony is potentially important be- cause Franklin's attorney, Mark S. Axup, is expected to try to show that the Franklins had no business riding the snowmobile be- cause it was too powerful and too complicated for them to operate. Axup is scheduled to call as a witness the man who designed the machine, which was intended as a racing prototype for highly skilled riders. But Blackwell testified that he saw no evidence at Bucks Lake that would indi- cate such problems. Blackwell, who said he has been riding snowmobiles for 30 years and building them from scratch for at least half that time, testified he drove the Franklin snowmobile about 400 yards to test it. The machine ran smoothly and the brakes worked prop- erly, he said. Blackwell told Axup, under cross-examination, that he would be surprised to learn the snowmobile was some kind of racing model. Another witness, Jimmie Fay Torres, talked about Ronna Franklirr's concerns about going to Bucks Lake. "She didn't want to go," said Torres, who worked with Ronna Franklin at a su- permarket chain. "She didn't want to leave her baby. She didn't want to be gone for four days." Torres also testified that Ronna Franklin did not en- joy cold weather and was puzzled by her husband's de- cision to buy a snowmobile. "She couldn't imagine why," Torres said. Another witness, Michelle Householder, testified that Michael Franklin confided to her that he had three wives. One had cancer, one lived in Texas and another was wealthy, mean and spoiled. One of the wives called Householder, the witness said, after she paged Michael in order to talk to him. "Quit calling him," House- holder recalled the wife say- ing. "This is Mike's wife. Leave him alone. I'm preg- nant." Under cross-examination from Axup, Householder said the wife told her during the phone call that she was hap- py being married to Michael. According to a timeline, Reichle is scheduled to con- elude his case no later than Boy Scouts have a lot to offer Boy Scout Troop 159 is looking for boys 11 - 15 who want to do some exciting things this summer. Do you think you would like the challenge of hiking, exploring and camping this summer? Did you know that Boy Scouts have a great camp just outside Chester that troops come from all over to attend? They are looking for guys who want more outside ac- tivity time. They have trained, experienced leaders who will show you how to plan some of these activities. -They have a family camp trip in the summer and fami- ly ski trips a couple of times in the winter. The troov is always looking for dads who would like to join in on these activities. If you think you might be interested, join them for one of ur meetings on Monday night at 7 p.m. at the Elks Hall or call George or Linda Robinette at 257-9049 or Tom or Kathy Jablonski at 257-5410. Call one of our Marketing Strategists Today For Results Marketing Strategist: Eileen, Jill, Laura or Jenni Evaluation ordered for Greenville man By Dave Keller Staff Writer Greenville's Randolph W. Meza, who pled no contest two months ago to negligently discharg- ing a firearm, has been ordered to undergo diag- nostic testing at the Cali- fornia Department of Corrections. The purpose of the test- ing is to determine whether Meza is a candi- date for probation and lo- cal jail. Without such a recommendation from the department, Meza is expected to receive two years in state prison. A determination is ex- pected no later than September. In February, Judge Ira R. Kaufman ordered Meza to answer to a felony charge of attempt- ed murder. The ruling came at the conclusion of a hearing, which featured testimo- ny from the man who drove the vehicle from which Meza fired a gun. The driver testified he drove Meza to a trailer belonging to a Wolf Creek Road man. The witness said Meza wanted to go to the trail- er to talk to the occu- pant. But, the witness said, Meza stuck his arm out the passenger window and fired two shots atthe trailer. Meza's attorney, Janet Hilde, was able to negoti- ate a plea bargain that resulted in the felony firearm count. Meza's case is to a matter Lewis M. Williams, earlier this year shot couch containing his and child. Kaufman also a 90-day diagnostic uation to determil whether Williams go to prison or be on probation and to serve time in the jail. Williams could up to three years prison but would be pected to receive as as 16 months or months. Williams also is uled to return to court: September for a final cision from the judge. Tithes Classified 257- Lassen Community College Summer/Fall 2000 New Student Orientation All new students enrolling for Summer/Fall 2000 semester classes are to attend New Student Orientation. This FREE Orientation Program will you to Lassen Community College programs and services, as well as guide you the registration process. If your goal is to receive an Associates degree, or complete a university, plan on attending New Student Orientation. We will show you how Community College can help you make your dreams come true. ORIENTATION DATES: Thursday, July 27 8:30 a.m. - 12 p.m. Monday, July 31 8:30 a.m. - 12 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 3 8:30 a.m. - 12 p.m. Get your first semester of college off to a good :, Carol \\; Hal The Also Enjoy the Fair & Art Alliance Performers: . GLORIA LENO • CAROL FONTANA • TOM READY • DIANNA HENNING • DOUG $NEEHY • LORI COLLIER • BIX BLAUFUSS • CAMILLE JAUREGUI • STEPHEN CRAMER & MIKE RIVAS WEDNESDAY IS SPECIAL PEOPLE'S DAY THURSDAY IS KIDDIE'S DAY (Sponsored by Country Falr Boostersl) FRIDAY IS OLD TIMER'S DAY SATURDAY IS RANCHER'S DAY SUNDAY IS FAMILY DAY (Sponsored by The Beauty Conol,  Ace Hardware a Olverle Electronlc$) . ± lOB Tuesday, July 11,2000 ,a m Lassen County Times/WestwoodP Experienced outdoorsman nothing wrong with Franklin's snowmobile00. Expert testifies in death of Ronna Franklin By Dave Keller Staff Writer A veteran snowmobile rid- er and mechanic said he saw no signs of an accident when he arrived at the Bucks Lake scene of Ronna Franklin's December 1996 death. Joe Blackwell, who is also a search and rescue worker and reserve Plumas County sheriffs deputy, said he ex- amined both the scene and the snowmobile that carried the woman prior to her death. Blackwell appeared as a witness last week for Plumas County District Attorney James Reichle, who is trying to convince, a jury that Michael E. Franklin killed wife Ronna and staged an accident in order to collect $2 million in life insurance. "It appeared that they just parked. There was nothing wrong with (the snoanobile) that I could tell just by standing there looking," Blackwell said. "It appeared that they came around the corner, started downhill and just pulled over and parked on the shoulder." Blackwell's testimony is potentially important be- cause Franklin's attorney, Mark S. Axup, is expected to try to show that the Franklins had no business riding the snowmobile be- cause it was too powerful and too complicated for them to operate. Axup is scheduled to call as a witness the man who designed the machine, which was intended as a racing prototype for highly skilled riders. But Blackwell testified that he saw no evidence at Bucks Lake that would indi- cate such problems. Blackwell, who said he has been riding snowmobiles for 30 years and building them from scratch for at least half that time, testified he drove the Franklin snowmobile about 400 yards to test it. The machine ran smoothly and the brakes worked prop- erly, he said. Blackwell told Axup, under cross-examination, that he would be surprised to learn the snowmobile was some kind of racing model. Another witness, Jimmie Fay Torres, talked about Ronna Franklirr's concerns about going to Bucks Lake. "She didn't want to go," said Torres, who worked with Ronna Franklin at a su- permarket chain. "She didn't want to leave her baby. She didn't want to be gone for four days." Torres also testified that Ronna Franklin did not en- joy cold weather and was puzzled by her husband's de- cision to buy a snowmobile. "She couldn't imagine why," Torres said. Another witness, Michelle Householder, testified that Michael Franklin confided to her that he had three wives. One had cancer, one lived in Texas and another was wealthy, mean and spoiled. One of the wives called Householder, the witness said, after she paged Michael in order to talk to him. "Quit calling him," House- holder recalled the wife say- ing. "This is Mike's wife. Leave him alone. I'm preg- nant." Under cross-examination from Axup, Householder said the wife told her during the phone call that she was hap- py being married to Michael. According to a timeline, Reichle is scheduled to con- elude his case no later than Boy Scouts have a lot to offer Boy Scout Troop 159 is looking for boys 11 - 15 who want to do some exciting things this summer. Do you think you would like the challenge of hiking, exploring and camping this summer? Did you know that Boy Scouts have a great camp just outside Chester that troops come from all over to attend? They are looking for guys who want more outside ac- tivity time. They have trained, experienced leaders who will show you how to plan some of these activities. -They have a family camp trip in the summer and fami- ly ski trips a couple of times in the winter. The troov is always looking for dads who would like to join in on these activities. If you think you might be interested, join them for one of ur meetings on Monday night at 7 p.m. at the Elks Hall or call George or Linda Robinette at 257-9049 or Tom or Kathy Jablonski at 257-5410. Call one of our Marketing Strategists Today For Results Marketing Strategist: Eileen, Jill, Laura or Jenni Evaluation ordered for Greenville man By Dave Keller Staff Writer Greenville's Randolph W. Meza, who pled no contest two months ago to negligently discharg- ing a firearm, has been ordered to undergo diag- nostic testing at the Cali- fornia Department of Corrections. The purpose of the test- ing is to determine whether Meza is a candi- date for probation and lo- cal jail. Without such a recommendation from the department, Meza is expected to receive two years in state prison. A determination is ex- pected no later than September. In February, Judge Ira R. Kaufman ordered Meza to answer to a felony charge of attempt- ed murder. The ruling came at the conclusion of a hearing, which featured testimo- ny from the man who drove the vehicle from which Meza fired a gun. The driver testified he drove Meza to a trailer belonging to a Wolf Creek Road man. The witness said Meza wanted to go to the trail- er to talk to the occu- pant. But, the witness said, Meza stuck his arm out the passenger window and fired two shots atthe trailer. Meza's attorney, Janet Hilde, was able to negoti- ate a plea bargain that resulted in the felony firearm count. Meza's case is to a matter Lewis M. Williams, earlier this year shot couch containing his and child. Kaufman also a 90-day diagnostic uation to determil whether Williams go to prison or be on probation and to serve time in the jail. Williams could up to three years prison but would be pected to receive as as 16 months or months. Williams also is uled to return to court  September for a final cision from the judge. Tithes Classified 257- Lassen Community College Summer/Fall 2000 New Student Orientation All new students enrolling for Summer/Fall 2000 semester classes are to attend New Student Orientation. This FREE Orientation Program will you to Lassen Community College programs and services, as well as guide you the registration process. If your goal is to receive an Associates degree, or complete a university, plan on attending New Student Orientation. We will show you how Community College can help you make your dreams come true. ORIENTATION DATES: Thursday, July 27 8:30 a.m. - 12 p.m. Monday, July 31 8:30 a.m. - 12 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 3 8:30 a.m. - 12 p.m. Get your first semester of college off to a good : , Carol \\; Hal The Also Enjoy the Fair & Art Alliance Performers: . GLORIA LENO • CAROL FONTANA • TOM READY • DIANNA HENNING • DOUG $NEEHY • LORI COLLIER • BIX BLAUFUSS • CAMILLE JAUREGUI • STEPHEN CRAMER & MIKE RIVAS WEDNESDAY IS SPECIAL PEOPLE'S DAY THURSDAY IS KIDDIE'S DAY (Sponsored by Country Falr Boostersl) FRIDAY IS OLD TIMER'S DAY SATURDAY IS RANCHER'S DAY SUNDAY IS FAMILY DAY (Sponsored by The Beauty Conol,  Ace Hardware a Olverle Electronlc$) . ±