Anatomy of a murder

Digging into a recent alleged homicide in Minneapolis uncovers a remarkable paper trail.

A headline from KSTP-TV 5 caught my eye last week:

2 men under ATF investigation charged in Minneapolis murder

The alleged murder in question occurred in late December, one of 86 homicides recorded in the city in 2023. Almost every homicide in Minneapolis involves someone who should have been behind bars at the time.

The two men arrested and charged in the case are named Dandre Franklin, age 32 of Crystal, and Lavester Breham, age 34 out of Illinois.

In addition to the recent state charge, Breham is wanted on an out-of-state felony case. A listing that matches “Lavester Breham” appears on the Cook County, IL, jail roster for February 2021.

It turns out the Federal Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) investigation has nothing to do with the alleged December 2023 murder. Instead, the ATF case (for Franklin anyway) involves an alleged March 2022 murder case, one of 83 homicides in Minneapolis that year. The Star Tribune’s report on the more recent case includes additional detail (including a subplot involving allegedly stolen French bulldog puppies).

Since Franklin is the local man involved, let’s review this saga in chronological order:

December 2010: Dandre Franklin (then aged 19 of Burnsville) is charged with a single felony drug count. He is released on $30,000 bail.

March 2011: Franklin enters plea agreement, is convicted of a felony, with sentenced stayed and 3 years’ probation.

June 2011: probation violation alleged, warrant issued, failure to appear at hearing.

January 2012: probation violation admitted to. Sent to drug treatment.

April 2012: probation violation alleged, warrant issued, failure to appear at hearings (April and May).

March 2013: convicted in federal court of illegal firearm possession.

March 2017: released from state probation.

September 2017: indicted on another Federal gun charge. At the time, Franklin was being held in Hennepin County jail for unknown reasons.

November 2017: Franklin pleads guilty to Federal gun charge.

March 2018: Sentenced to 46 months in prison (3 years+14 months that had been stayed from previous Federal case) plus an additional 3 years’ probation.

March 2022: Murder of Timothy Brown by person(s) unknown.

December 2023: death of Mikiyel Patton.

January 2024: Federal ammunition charge filed related to March 2022 incident. Charged in state court related to death of Patton in December 2023.

It’s not clear what happened between March 2022 and December 2023. Was it the case that the Feds were unable to locate Franklin during that time? Or did it take that long for them to complete the investigation into his latest parole violation?

The former seems unlikely as the Feds describe in court filings how they had Franklin under surveillance beginning in November 2023.

Both Franklin and Breham are currently in federal custody.

[Update: Franklin, a/k/a “Do-Man,” has been formally indicted on the Federal ammunition charge.]