Assault arrest connects suspect to south Sacramento homeless attacks

An Oct. 13 assault led Sacramento County sheriff’s deputies to a breakthrough in the murder and attempted murder cases of two homeless people last month, with a 28-year-old man held in connection with all three attacks, sheriff’s officials said Sunday.

Deputies connected the dots Friday against Christopher Franklin, who had been in sheriff’s custody since Oct. 13.

Sheriff’s spokesman Deputy Tony Turnbull said Franklin assaulted a worker near the south Sacramento railroad tracks where Anna Marie Bernaix, a 54-year-old homeless woman, was found dead the day before with a gunshot wound to the head.

When deputies arrested Franklin, they found a firearm of the same caliber as the one used to kill Bernaix, according to Turnbull.

“That was determined based on the caliber of shell casings that were left at Anna’s murder,” Turnbull said, adding that authorities are still awaiting official confirmation from lab tests. “The shell casings were the same brand.”

Based on the location, sheriff’s investigators linked the suspect to a separate attempted murder case on July 10, involving a 35-year-old homeless man. That victim was sleeping near Cottonwood Lane and Elsie Avenue when he was shot multiple times, Turnbull said.

The victim, whose name was not released, survived the attack. He was shot less than a mile from where Bernaix was discovered just north of Gwinhurst Circle, close to Calvine and Elk Grove Florin roads.

Turnbull said the motives behind the attacks were still unclear and noted that the suspect is not homeless.

Franklin initially agreed to an interview Sunday with The Sacramento Bee at Sacramento County Main Jail, but after a reporter informed him of the charges against him, Franklin wrote briefly in a notebook and abruptly walked away without answering any questions.

Franklin is ineligible for bail, and his next court date is scheduled for Tuesday.

Anyone with information related to the shootings can contact the Sheriff’s Department at 916-874-5115 or Crime Alert at 916-443-HELP.

Richard Chang: 916-321-1018, @RichardYChang