Lawsuits filed over triple slayings at Baker Civic Club

Family of slain, injured seek damages

A teen who was shot in the face but survived a deadly shooting at a Baker birthday party in March filed a lawsuit in state district court Thursday claiming police, the Baker Civic Club, its board members and an entertainment company were negligent in the tragic event that left three teens dead.

A similar suit also was filed Thursday by Ikle Franklin, the father of Marcell Franklin, a 15-year-old girl who was among the three slain teens.

The suits claim the Baker Civic Club, where the shootings occurred, and its board members should have known based on a flier handed out prior to the birthday party that security would be needed at the event. The flier featured people holding cash in their hands and one holding some in his mouth, according to the suit.

The suit also claims Baker Police Chief Mike Knaps, who is one of the defendants, knew about the party and did not do enough to secure the partygoers or prevent the shooting from happening.

Knaps and Hazel Mitchell, president of the Civic Club and a defendant in the suit, both declined comment Thursday evening, citing the pending litigation.

Lawyers representing Marcell Franklin’s family and Javaughn Simmons, the surviving teen, said they believe the defendants had a moral obligation to stop the party.

“The question is whether they had a legal obligation,” said Ron Haley, an attorney representing Simmons and Franklin’s family. Attorney Dedrick Moore also is representing them.

In addition to Knaps and Mitchell, other defendants named in the suit include the Civic Club, two current board members and a former board member, an entertainment company hired to shoot video of the event and an insurance company.

The suit is seeking unspecified damages related to medical expenses, wrongful death and emotional distress, among other reasons.

The shooting occurred March 28 at the Civic Club on Magnolia Drive shortly before 11 p.m. after several fights had already broken out during the party, the suits say.

Marcell Franklin, Kendal Dorsey and Diontrey Claiborne, all teenagers, died from injuries during the shooting.

The day after the shooting, authorities arrested Nakeydran Williams, 16, on three counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted first-degree murder.

A judge ruled in April that prosecutors can try Williams as an adult on the counts. He remains in East Baton Rouge Parish Prison in lieu of $925,000 bail.

Follow Ben Wallace on Twitter, @_BenWallace.