Judge Trudy White is right in the middle of the tragic death of 41-year old Zachary, LA, police officer Christopher Lawton Monday night. Lawton’s alleged killer, 33-year-old Albert Franklin, has been the beneficiary of White’s well-established history of being lax with criminals, according to columnist Dan Fagan at the Baton Rouge Advocate.
Franklin now sits in East Baton Rouge Parish Prison, charged with first-degree murder of Lawton. Late Monday, East Baton Rouge Sheriff Sid Gautreaux said Lawton was killed while working undercover with another Zachary police officer searching for Franklin, who was wanted on active warrants for aggravated second-degree battery, felon in possession of a firearm and aggravated assault with a firearm. This is not the first time Franklin has apparently tried to kill someone. His extensive criminal history includes an arrest on counts of attempted second-degree murder.
Zachary Police Chief David McDavid told WAFB-TV in December that Franklin had been a problem for the people of his city for quite some time.
What especially angered McDavid is the soft treatment Franklin has received from White. In November, Franklin was pulled over in a traffic stop, and officers said they found drugs and a gun. He was charged with possession and distribution of manufactured Schedule I drugs, possession and distribution of Schedule II drugs, possession of a firearm with drugs, felon in possession of firearm, resisting an officer, possession of drug paraphernalia, improper lane usage, and failure to signal, according to WAFB.
A commissioner originally set Franklin’s bond at $88,000. But the next day, White reduced Franklin’s bond to only $9,000. Franklin bonded out the next day, WAFB reported.