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Mason man dies in hospital, completing murder-suicide

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A man who on Sunday fatally shot his estranged wife in front of her child and new boyfriend -- then turned the gun on himself -- has died, police said.

Richard "Ricky" Franklin, 49, of Point Pleasant, succumbed Monday morning at Cabell Huntington Hospital to injuries from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Point Pleasant Police Capt. Joe Veith said officers were called to the home of Kellie Leach-Franklin, 43, in the 1900 block of North Main Street in Point Pleasant about 12:40 p.m. Sunday.

"Officers were dispatched for a disturbance call, but while they were en route an additional call came from 911, reporting possible shots had been fired," Veith said.

Arriving officers discovered that Franklin had barged into his estranged wife's home and then shot her once in the head with a handgun. He then shot himself.

Leach-Franklin's new boyfriend and one of her three children witnessed the shooting, he said. They were not harmed.

Leach-Franklin was pronounced dead at the scene. Paramedics took Franklin to Pleasant Valley Hospital in Point Pleasant and then later to Cabell Huntington.

Veith said no one else is connected to the shooting and detectives are investigating it as a murder-suicide. Police recovered at the scene the gun they believed was used.

Officers previously were called to the home in response to a disturbance in progress in September, when the couple still lived together. They were both arrested for domestic battery and later released, Veith said.

Franklin had two children with another woman and was an avid barrel horse racer in Mason County. Both he and Leach-Franklin shared an interest in horses and racing, Veith said.

A month ago, Franklin posted to his public Facebook page that he was seeking "God to help through troubled times."

"No matter what happens in the next few weeks I know God has plans for me. My struggle with the hands I have been dealt is over," he wrote in an Oct. 11 post. "I'm finally at peace [and] the rage is gone that was inside me. Starting a new chapter in life."

Franklin said he was seeking jobs and couldn't wait to leave West Virginia.

Reach Travis Crum at travis.crum@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5163.


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