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Winslow man pleads not guilty in Forest Lakes campground killing
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Winslow man pleads not guilty in Forest Lakes campground killing

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A 27-year-old Winslow man pleaded not guilty in the Coconino Superior Court earlier this month to the second-degree murder of another man while camping in the Forest Lakes area.

Chad Lapointe was arrested in June when Coconino County Sheriff's deputies responded to a reported altercation outside of developed campgrounds near the Mogollon Rim Visitor center. Deputies said Lapointe and Simone Franklin, 25, were camping with her brother, Brandon Franklin, 27, when an argument broke out.

An investigation into the incident uncovered that Lapointe and Brandon Franklin eventually began fighting. When deputies arrived, Lapointe and Simone Franklin gave inconsistent accounts of what happened.

The pair initially reported to authorities that Brandon Franklin had hogtied Simone Franklin near their campsite. They claimed that three unknown men had come to the campsite as well to assault and chase them, according to court documents.

But Simone Franklin would later admit to detectives that she was lying, and that she had never been hogtied, according to court documents. She also claimed that she and Lapoint had made up the story involving the three men.

Instead, Simone Franklin claimed to have been assaulted by Brandon Franklin and blacked out. When she regained consciousness, she told the detective she saw Lapointe and Brandon Franklin punching each other.

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When detectives interviewed Lapointe, he stated that Brandon Franklin had started pushing and assaulting Simone Franklin at the campsite, according to court documents. He said three men he believed were trying to kill him arrived at the campsite, and that he was chased into the woods by a man with a bow.

Lapointe told detectives that when he returned to the campsite, he witnessed Simone Franklin hogtied and Brandon Franklin kicking her. He claimed to have punched Brandon Franklin in self-defense.

Deputies said Brandon Franklin was found lying face up with blunt force trauma to his face. He died at the campsite from his injuries, according to court documents.

Neighboring campers on the scene gave accounts of what happened, according to court documents. A total of four witnesses reported they had seen no more than three people at the campsite where the incident occurred.

During the night, witnesses said they heard yelling and a woman screaming. The witnesses specifically reported hearing punches and a woman yell, “Get off him, you’re going to kill him,” according to court documents.

The witnesses told deputies that after the commotion, they saw a man pacing where Brandon Franklin was later found dead and heard a man’s voice say, “Get in the car,” but that the car never left.

Lapointe is described by deputies as having “blood spatter on his arms” and “bruised knuckles” when he was interviewed on the scene.

Lapointe is being held in the Coconino County Detention Facility on a $500,000 bond.

This video from Michelle McManimon shows flooding at the intersection of Route 66 and Fanning Drive in Flagstaff.

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