A Charlotte North Carolina is still searching for answers after a local man was arrested in connection to the murder of a beloved UNC Charlotte professor.
On September 5, Donny Franklin, 45, was formally charged with first-degree murder in the death of Jeannine Shante Skinner, a 35-year-old assistant professor of gerontology and psychology at the university.
Police found Skinner’s body in her apartment on Friday, September 1 after conducting a wellness check. The official cause of death is unknown, but authorities said they found “obvious trauma” when they discovered her at the scene, WBTV reports.
Authorities say Franklin and Skinner were in a relationship and believe the incident was a case of domestic violence. Not much is known about the couple’s relationship, but they may have first connected on social media.
Franklin, a father of two, was found by authorities after he initially went missing. At one point, police considered him to be armed, dangerous and possibly suicidal, according to WBTV.
Franklin’s family issued a statement to Fox 46 News in Charlotte.
“We’re sorry for the Skinner family about what happened. I mean, to take a loss like that, that is remorseful on our end. But, it was due to something that he couldn’t control and we want to put that out there,” said the suspect’s sister, Alyza.
“He’s diagnosed bi-polar, anxiety and depression,” she said. “He was getting help for it and we just believe the medicine just wasn’t right for him. Because he was worse on the medicine.”
However other news agencies report that Franklin had a history of violence and had been arrested multiple times.
Franklin pleaded guilty to misdemeanor count of assault on a female in 2003. Another charge of violating a domestic violence protective order was dismissed in the same case.
Franklin who previously lived in Roanoke, Virginia, had an arrest record there for reckless driving, assault and battery, burglary with intent to commit assault and trespassing. He was found guilty in the burglary, assault and trespassing cases, according to court records.
In 2003, he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of assault on a woman. The same year, authorities also dismissed a charge that he violated a protective order, The Charlotte Observer reports.
Skinner’s funeral will be held at a local church in Petersburg, Florida on Saturday, September 16.
Her friend’s and family say that she was a young woman full of promise, but her life was cut short too soon. UNC Charlotte’s chancellor Philip Dubois released a statement.
“We grieve for Jeannine’s family, and we hope that joyful memories of her life will sustain them in the days to come. I hope those of you who were her students and colleagues will remember Jeannine for her accomplishments and for the influence she had on your lives.”
PHOTO: CBS News screenshot/Facebook
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