28 years in prison for man who stabbed UNCC professor to death

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A man who stabbed a UNC Charlotte professor to death last year will spend 28 years in prison.

Prosecutors said Donny Franklin’s history of mental illness played into their decision to reach a plea agreement with him.

Franklin stabbed his girlfriend Jeannine Skinner some 200 times inside his apartment in Steele Creek last September.

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In court Friday, Skinner’s brother called the last seven months “the hardest of my life.”

“That chapter is closed,” Jeannine Skinner’s father, Curtis Skinner, said. “We're doing a new walk now.”

Curtis Skinner said that their family’s faith has taught them to forgive the man who killed his daughter.

Jeannine Skinner was a psychology professor at UNCC and was working on her Ph.D. from Howard University.

In January, prosecutors announced they would not seek the death penalty against Franklin.

The sentencing came a day late after Franklin's defense attorneys missed a hearing scheduled for Thursday. Skinner's family had traveled to Charlotte from Florida, and one called the delay "a slap in the face."

The prosecutor told the judge he had not been able to reach the attorneys and apologized to Skinner's family and friends.

“Painful? Very painful, but it looks like that was a planned move,” Jeannine Skinner’s aunt Angela Skinner said.

Prosecutors said the defense team messed up their scheduling, and that's why they weren't there.

“’It's sad’ is the best word, but we're going to move it to tomorrow’s meeting and God has a plan, and we're going to wait for that day,” said UNCC professor Kathleen West who was also there to see Franklin sentenced.

The Skinner family said they've started a foundation in her name at UNCC to continue her legacy.

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