By Melanie Posey
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - A 22-year old Shelby County man will stand trial for murder in the death of a 2-year old boy. Joshua Jewell Franklin was originally arrested for aggravated child abuse in August of this year, shortly after 2-year-old Drayden McGowan died. But recently, a Shelby County grand jury indicted Franklin on murder charges. He remained in the Shelby County Jail Thursday on $75,000 bond.
Investigators say on August 28, they arrived at Franklin's grandmother's home in the 200 block of Bridle Trail in Harpersville. There they found an unresponsive McGowan. It was later learned that McGowan's mother and Franklin were acquaintances and that she had asked Franklin to watch the boy. Authorities say five days after getting him, McGowan was dead.
Both Harpersville Police and the Shelby County Sheriff's office investigated the death and say they're confident Franklin is the correct suspect.
"I would say I'm as confident as I've ever been that we've got the right man," Harpersville Police Chief David Latimer said Thursday. "There's specific evidence I can't talk about but it's as strong as it gets in a case like this."
Latimer would not say how the boy died, but that he suffered severely before doing so.
Court records show Franklin was arrested in February of this year on burglary and forgery charges. In 2008, he plead guilty to drug possession and in 2009, he plead guilty to driving with a revoked license. But neighbors say police have the wrong man. One man told FOX6 he would often see Franklin out playing with McGowan and that he loved the boy and would never hurt him.