|“||Stupid, incompetent sons of bitches! I don't make mistakes! I am Death! You hear me? I am Death! You'll see now, tomorrow. Mark my words, you will see. And while I'm taking her, I'm gonna be thinking of you.||”|
Franklin worked as a phone technician for Bell San Diego and lived with a nagging female relative, presumably either his mother or wife. Franklin began raping and murdering women who lived on his routes in 2005, spying on them for some time before attacking them, destroying symbols of wealth in their homes and gluing their eyes open after killing, which he did by strangling them with a length of cord. After his first three murders went unconnected by the police, Franklin, angered by this, began leaving snippets of a 16th-century ballad The Great Messenger of Mortality or A Dialogue Betwixt Death and a Lady at the scenes of all his subsequent murders, as a means of getting the attention from the press, which, after his affinity for gluing eyes open comes to light, dubbed the Tommy Killer, after The Who's rock opera Tommy (which features the line "See me, feel me, touch me").
After Franklin claims six victims in only three weeks, the BAU is called in to help with the investigation. When an African-American youth is brought in (the boy had tried and failed to rape an elderly woman) as a suspect in his murders, Franklin, enraged at someone else being mistaken as him after watching it on TV, calls the police station and claims that he will rape and murder another woman tomorrow. Since Franklin routed his call through twenty-five different substations he is unable to be traced.
In the early morning, Franklin sneaks into Shelly Hart's house, forcing her into the upstairs bedroom under the threat of hurting her infant son. Tying Shelly up, Franklin begins verbally abusing her when he hears Gideon coming down the hallway. When Gideon enters the room, Franklin points a handgun at Shelly's head and threatens to shoot her. By appealing to Franklin's desire for recognition and infamy, Gideon starts talking him down, saying that if he gives up he will be immortalized, but if he forces Gideon to kill him, Gideon will claim he was just a simple burglar, a nobody who will never be remembered by anyone. Mulling this over, Franklin, after making Gideon promise he will tell everyone about him, drops his gun, and allows himself to be arrested by Hotch and Elle when they arrive. He is likely incarcerated for his murders afterwards.
The unsub is a highly-organized exploitative rapist and stated to be a middle-class white male in his late 30s to early 40s, who is diurnal, as his attacks occur during the day. Due to the fact that he goes completely unnoticed in a highly-patrolled neighborhood (despite watching his victims for days to get their schedules down and striking in broad daylight), he likely has a vehicle related to his work, such as a company car or truck, which will be well kept and obsessively clean, as well as his home. He brings his own weapons and takes them with him after killing his victims, rather than leaving them behind at the crime scenes. It is believed that he watches his victims for long periods of time, learns the rhythms of the homes, and knows his time frame, so he will not be caught accidentally. Destroying some of his victims' possessions, all of them symbols of wealth, means that he harbors envy and hatred toward people of a higher social status, whom he feels ignored and dismissed by, making him feel invisible, though he appears to belong in the neighborhood where he kills at and blends in. He feels in control at the crime scenes but inadequate everywhere else in life.
The victims all represent a dominant female who he feels is controlling, and by raping and killing, he is acquiring a sense of control. Like all other exploitative rapists, the unsub wants his victims to see him, hence him gluing their eyes open. The goal is more related to the victims watching him than the act of rape itself. Additionally, the unsub would be obsessed with getting recognition from the authorities, which is what leaving the lines from the ballad at the crime scenes do. They are simply a means of getting attention and not actually needed for any kind of emotional release, just like the gluing of the eyes.
Franklin targeted upper-middle-class, married Caucasian women with children, presumably as surrogates for the female relative he was living with. He would spy on his victims for days while working on their telephone poles, completely memorizing their schedules and routines to pinpoint the perfect time to strike, which was always in the morning. Using a "kill kit" filled with items used in his job, which consists of duct tape, cords, and glue, Franklin would incapacitate his victims, tie their wrists together and cover their mouths with duct tape, and bind them to the bed. Then, he would rape them and finish them off by strangling them with a length of wire. His signature was gluing the victims' eyes open and pose them so it would look like they were facing out the windows, next to the telephone lines he worked on. After doing all of this, Franklin would go on to destroy symbols of wealth he found in the house (objects such as small appliances, silverware, and fine china), take everything from his "kill kit" with him, and clean up the crime scenes, even organizing and putting away miscellaneous objects. With his last three victims, he wrote snippets of a 16th-century ballad (writing only the lyrics sung by Death) with lipstick on mirrors at their crime scenes, since the authorities had not connected his first three murders at that point.
Franklin's habit of targeting women, attacking them through home invasions, and raping and then killing them through strangulation is similar to the M.O. of the Boston Strangler, a still-unidentified serial killer and rapist who murdered a total of thirteen women in the early to mid-1960s.
- September 18: Chandler (first name unrevealed; did not leave a snippet behind)
- September 26-October 7:
- Two unnamed victims (did not leave snippets behind at their crime scenes)
- Two unnamed victims (left snippets behind at their crime scenes)
- October 8: Brenda Samms (left a snippet behind)
- October 11: Shelly Hart (tied up and intended to rape and kill; was rescued)
- Kirk B.R. Woller, the actor who portrays Franklin, would go on to appear as Dr. Florio in an episode of Suspect Behavior, the short-lived Criminal Minds spin-off.