Man accused of murder claims no memory of the act

William Franklin, 33, of Orlando, Florida. [Image credit: Orlando Police Department]

Orlando Regional Medical Center reported one of their patients missing after he removed an IV from his arm and walked out of the hospital sometime before 4:30 am on Sunday morning.


At the same hour, less than half a mile from the hospital, a mother woke to the sounds of her daughter screaming, a struggle, and an unknown male voice repeatedly saying "whoop."  She found her daughter on the floor of the hallway with a man standing over her who then walked out of the house. She immediately called for an ambulance.


“There’s so much blood on the floor I can’t believe it,” she said in a 911 call. “You need to come now with an ambulance.”


Her daughter, 44-year-old Erin Hartigan, an assistant attorney with Orange County government was pronounced dead at the scene.


Law Enforcement Today cited the arrest affidavit establishing that Franklin had last been seen at the hospital when a nurse checked on him shortly before 2 am.  Franklin is said to have left the hospital at about 3:30 am.


Officers used the surveillance footage to match a pair of discarded shorts found under a bush near the crime scene to what Franklin was seen wearing on his way out of the hospital.


Throughout the morning hours, there were  several calls made to police that facilitated their recovery of two bloodied knives and locating Franklin along the shore of Lake Lurna shortly after 9:30 am wearing just a shirt and boxers.  When approached by officers, he told them that he was swimming in the lake.


In an interview with officers, Franklin stated that he had gone to Orlando Regional Medical Center for a COVID-19 test, but alleged that they had given him something that caused him to lose his memory.  He asserted that he had no memory of what happened between the time he left the hospital and the time that he was found at the lake swimming.


According to ORMC, Franklin was there for treatment of a bad reaction to drugs that he had been given for his birthday on the 13th.


The Orlando Sentinel reports though, that while in the interview room alone, the affidavit states that Franklin blurted "did not meant to kill that lady."


Sgt. William Cail of the Orlando Police Department stated that the attack appears to be completely random as investigators have been unable to find any link between Franklin and Hartigan.


Franklin has been charged with first-degree murder with a weapon and burglary of a dwelling  with assault or battery.


Law Enforcement Today indicated Franklin had previous court records including criminal convictions for selling marijuana, robbery with a firearm, grand theft third degree, battery and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.


His court date is not known.