OLYMPIA - Roy Franco will spend 34 years in prison for fatally shooting his ex-girlfriend with a sawed-off shotgun at Lattin's Country Cider Mill in September 2009.
Franco, 55, was in a wheelchair during Monday’s sentencing hearing before Thurston County Superior Court Judge Thomas McPhee. Franco shot himself in the head immediately after chasing down Kay Langford and shooting her in the head Sept. 24, 2009. He is missing part of his jaw and has trouble speaking.
Franco’s murder case was delayed as he recovered from his injuries.
He cried during his apology in court before his sentencing.
The homicide occurred inside a general store at the cider mill in front of horrified onlookers after Langford had arrived there for work.
In December, Franco pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree murder, two counts of second-degree assault, one count of third-degree assault and one count of possession of a short-barreled shotgun.
Franco’s sentence is at the high end of the standard range. Langford’s stepdaughter, Caprice Wilson, said of Franco’s sentence that she thought it was “a good outcome, but it doesn’t bring my mom back. I really don’t feel any better.”
Wilson said Langford’s 19-year-old son Christopher now lives with her, and that he’s having trouble dealing with his mother’s death.
Franco has no prior felony convictions.
Carolyn Lattin, the owner of the cider mill, also was in court for Franco’s sentencing.
Lattin was in the store when Langford was killed. Lattin, 78, tried to grab Franco’s shotgun before he shot Langford, but he pushed Lattin out of the way.
Lattin said in court Monday that she is still traumatized. She said she and her family members become upset when they hear gunshots from hunters near their farm, on Rich Road in rural Thurston County. The homicide also has had a lasting effect on cider mill employees, Lattin has said.
Langford, who was 43 when she was killed, had worked at the cider mill for about a year and a half.
She had recently ended a long-term relationship with Franco at the time of her death and was starting a relationship with a co-worker.
Wilson complimented Thurston County Sheriff’s Detective Steve Hamilton for his eloquence during Franco’s sentencing hearing. She said Hamilton told Judge McPhee that Franco’s actions were “cold-blooded murder.”
Wilson said that she and the rest of Franco’s family, including Franco’s daughter and a niece, continue to be close despite Franco’s actions.
“We’re family,” she said. “We were family before this happened.”
Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5465 firstname.lastname@example.org