An eastern Pennsylvania woman who fatally stabbed her fiance on their wedding day – and then apparently could not comprehend that he had died – was convicted of first-degree murder on Thursday.
Jurors found Na Cola Franklin, 32, guilty after deliberating about three hours in Lehigh County Court. She could get life in prison when she is sentenced July 16. Her attorney said an appeal is likely.
Prosecutors say Franklin and 36-year-old Billy Brewster got into the deadly argument on Aug. 11 around 2 a.m. in their Whitehall Township apartment. They were scheduled to be married at 10 a.m. in neighboring Allentown.
At her arraignment that night, Franklin appeared distraught and confused to learn Brewster was dead, telling the judge, “You got to check again!”
Defense attorney John Waldron told jurors during the trial this week that Brewster had come home drunk that night after an impromptu bachelor party. Brewster attacked Franklin and then tried to leave with the couple’s 9-month-old son, Waldron said.
Waldron argued Franklin killed the groom-to-be after grabbing a knife to protect her child. He had pushed for a voluntary manslaughter conviction, which carries a lighter sentence.
But prosecutors, who said the child was not in danger, sought a first-degree murder conviction. First Assistant District Attorney Steven Luksa said Thursday that he hopes the verdict will bring some comfort to Brewster’s family, according to the Express-Times of Easton.
On the day of the planned wedding, neighbor Steve Engel said the pastor who was supposed to marry the couple came looking for them at the apartment building. Distraught people in suits and dresses – presumably ceremony guests – then began showing up throughout the day, Engel said.