Government Police/Fire

Suspect in ‘Pistol Whipping’ in West Hartford, and His Brother, Found Guilty in 2020 Murder

Edwin Franqui, 27. Courtesy of West Hartford Police (we-ha.com file photo)

A Superior Court jury on Jan. 24, 2024 found two brothers – one of whom has also been charged in connection with a ‘pistol whipping’ in West Hartford – guilty of murder in a 2020 incident.

By Ronni Newton

Two men from Hartford – brothers who are both named Edwin Franqui – were found guilty by a jury on Jan. 24 of the 2020 shooting of a Hartford teen, Hartford Judicial District State’s Attorney Sharmese L. Walcott announced on Friday.

The younger Franqui, 27, has also been previously charged with second-degree assault with a firearm, second-degree breach of peace, and reckless driving in connection with a pistol-whipping assault of an individual in West Hartford Center in September 2023. He fled following that incident but was arrested in October in Los Angeles and extradited to Connecticut to face those charges, and since his return has remained in custody on $5 million court-set bond.

When the incident in West Hartford occurred on Sept. 10, Franqui was out on $1.25 million bond and awaiting a trial date on charges of accessory to murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and first-degree assault in connection with a July 6, 2020 shooting in which the victim had been fatally shot on Capitol Avenue in Hartford before crashing the vehicle he was driving into what was then a Subway at 1037 Boulevard in West Hartford. The Hartford Courant had reported in February 2023 that Franqui turned down a plea deal in that case which would have required him to serve a 25-year prison term.

The younger Franqui has now been found guilty of conspiracy to commit murder, accessory to commit murder, and accessory to first-degree assault.

The older Edwin Franqui, 32, has been found guilty of murder, conspiracy to commit murder, first-degree assault, and criminal possession of a firearm.

According to the news release from the Office of the State’s Attorney, the victim, 19-year-old Junny Lara-Velazquez, was driving a Honda in Hartford on July 6, 2020, with two passengers, when an Infiniti pulled alongside the vehicle he was driving. The release states that testimony presented at the trial indicates that eight to 10 rounds were fired into the Honda, and Lara-Velazquez and one of the passengers were struck.

Lara-Velazquez’s foot became stuck in the vehicle’s accelerator, according to the release, and the Honda continued to travel from Capitol Avenue in Hartford, across Prospect Avenue into West Hartford, stopping only when it crashed into what was then a Subway at 1037 Boulevard.

A vehicle crashed into the side of the Subway at 1037 Boulevard in West Hartford in July 2020 after an apparent shooting in Hartford. Photo credit: Ronni Newton (we-ha.com file photo)

Lara-Velazquez was later pronounced dead at Hartford Hospital as the result of a gunshot wound to the head. The passengers were also taken to the hospital for treatment of injuries, and one of the passengers, as well as another witness located by police, identified the Franqui brothers as responsible for the shooting, according to the release.

The release noted that a witness told police that one of the Franqui brothers confessed to the murder.

Both Franqui brothers remain in custody, and sentencing for both is scheduled for March 25, 2024, in Hartford Superior Court.

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