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Suspect jailed for killing UNC Charlotte professor has history of assault arrests

CMPD explains the scene in death of UNCC professor

A woman was found dead inside her apartment on North Kings Parade Boulevard just before noon Friday.
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A woman was found dead inside her apartment on North Kings Parade Boulevard just before noon Friday.

The man accused of killing a UNC Charlotte professor last week in south Charlotte’s Ayrsley community has been arrested, according to Charlotte Mecklenburg Police.

Donny Lewis Franklin, 45, of Charlotte was arrested about 4:30 p.m. Monday and booked into the jail four hours later on a first degree murder warrant, records show.

Court records in North Carolina and Virginia show Franklin has a history of assault arrests dating back to 1996.

franklin
Donny Franklin Mecklenburg County Jail

He is accused of killing 35-year-old Jeannine Shante Skinner, an assistant professor of gerontology and psychology in the department of psychological sciences at UNC Charlotte.

Skinner’s body was found in an apartment off Interstate 485 near South Tryon Street at 11:37 a.m. after police were called to do a welfare check in the 9300 block of Kings Parade Boulevard. TV station WSOC identified the apartment as part of The Lofts at Charleston Row.

Initial information indicated the incident is possibly domestic related and the victim and suspect knew each other, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said.

In September 2003, Franklin pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of assault on a female, court records show, and a charge of violating a domestic violence protective order was dismissed at that time.

Virginia court records show Franklin was formerly a resident of Roanoke, Virginia, and was arrested there multiple times for crimes including reckless driving, assault and battery, burglary with intent to commit assault and trespassing. He was found guilty of assault and battery, burglary with intent to commit assault, trespassing and damaging a vehicle, records show.

Police have not yet said how Franklin was captured. A press release said he was found by the violent criminal apprehension team and taken into custody without incident.

Franklin was described prior to his arrest as armed and possibly suicidal.

UNCC Chancellor Philip Dubois issued a statement to faculty and students Saturday expressing condolences to Skinner’s family.

Skinner began working at the school two years ago. Prior to working at UNCC, Skinner was an adjunct faculty member in psychology at Belmont University and Fisk University in Nashville, Tenn., a UNCC spokeswoman said.

Skinner received her doctorate from Howard University in 2010, and studied at the University of Washington school of medicine. Skinner also was a research instructor at Vanderbilt University’s medical center from 2013 to 2014, Stephens said.

According to her Facebook posts, Skinner was a St. Petersburg, Fla., native who enjoyed running and often posted colorful pictures of restaurant food.

Incidents of men killing a girlfriend is an ongoing problem in the nation, according to Charlotte’s chief domestic violence charity, Safe Alliance. Three women are murdered by their boyfriend or husband every day in the United States, based on data provided by Safe Alliance.

Last year, Charlotte Mecklenburg Police responded to more than 37,000 domestic violence related calls, Safe Alliance reports.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call 704-432-TIPS and speak directly to a Homicide Unit Detective. The public can also call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600 or visit the Crime Stoppers mobile app website at http://charlottecrimestoppers.com/.

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