DC neighborhood remembers teen murdered in 2019, calls for justice

Candlelight vigil is held for Domonique Franklin, a D.C. teen murdered in 2019. The vigil marked the two-year anniversary of his death. (WTOP/Gigi Barnett)

For Ebony Franklin, the two-year anniversary of the death of her son, Domonique Franklin, is a reminder of how she is still waiting for justice.

Friends and family gathered Tuesday night in a Southwest D.C. neighborhood to honor Domonique, who was killed in 2019, as his mother continues to search for answers about what happened.

Surrounded by blue and white balloons and lit candles, Ebony said she hopes the vigil will bring her some closure after Domonique’s death. The date also has significance as his father’s birthday.

“The candlelight (vigil), it’s kind of a way to honor them both,” Franklin said. “But it’s very, very safe.”

Dominique was found dead on Aug. 30, 2019, in a vacant public housing apartment.

Months later, in January 2020, police arrested then 17-year-old J’whan Simpson, who told a group of people that Dominique was working with the police as an informant and bragged about the shooting to a juvenile accomplice, according to court documents.

Simpson went to jail for the incident but was released in February 2020. When asked about his release, Ebony said she felt “disgusted.”

“It hurts me to my soul … my son was murdered for no reason by society deficits,” Franklin said. “Like these are people that were jealous of my son because he had a mother and they did not.”

She hoped the vigil will help bring closure, not just for herself but the entire neighborhood.

“There are so many of us losing our children every day. I have a 7-year-old child, who was 5 at the time, constantly asking, ‘When is my brother coming home?’”

However, with Simpson out and a juvenile accomplice who was not tried in court, Franklin said she fears justice will not come soon.

“It’s been hell,” Franklin said. “I have no justice.”

WTOP’s José Umaña contributed to this report.

Gigi Barnett

Gigi Barnett is an anchor at WTOP. She has worked in the media for more than 20 years. Before joining WTOP, she was an anchor at WJZ-TV in Baltimore, KXAN-TV in Austin, Texas, and a staff reporter at The Miami Herald. She’s a Navy wife and mom of three.

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