According to court documents Raymond Twyford and an accomplice would lure Richard Franks to a remote location where he was beaten, tortured, had his hands cut off and murdered
Raymond Twyford would be arrested, convicted and sentenced to death
Raymond Twyford Photos
Raymond Twyford Now
Chillicothe Correctional Institution
Raymond Twyford Case
In the early evening hours of September 23, 1992, Athena Cash was walking in a rural area in Jefferson County, Ohio. After traversing the crest of a hill, Cash noticed an object floating in an old strip-mining pond. Although it appeared to be in the shape of a human body, Cash was uncertain whether the object was, in fact, human. Cash subsequently summoned her boyfriend to view the object, and he concluded that the object was a human body. As a result, the couple contacted local law enforcement authorities.
Law enforcement personnel, including Jefferson County Sheriff Fred Abdalla, responded to the scene and found parts of a skull and flesh on the ground. Some seventy-four feet away, the sheriff saw a body lying on its back in the body of water. On the shore, the sheriff also found blood, a pair of glasses, a baseball cap, and six shell casings fired from a .30-06-caliber rifle.
While the body was floating in the pond, Sheriff Abdalla observed that it appeared “as if the head was cut off” and also noticed that “the hands were severed from the body.” Once the body was removed from the water, it was determined that part of the face was still attached but that the skull was missing. Abdalla also discovered that the victim had been shot in the back. At the scene, Dr. John Metcalf, the Jefferson County Coroner, observed the same injuries. In addition, Dr. Metcalf found a pocket calendar diary inside the victim’s shirt pocket. The victim’s name, Richard Franks, as well as a Windham, Ohio address, was written in the diary.
On September 24, 1992, after contacting the Windham Police Department and receiving information that Franks had been missing for two days, Sheriff Abdalla traveled to the village of Windham in Portage County, Ohio. Prior to Sheriff Abdalla’s arrival, Windham Chief of Police Thomas Denvir decided to place Franks’s apartment under surveillance. Chief Denvir had discovered that Daniel Eikelberry lived with Franks, and while surveilling the apartment, Chief Denvir observed Eikelberry and Raymond A. Twyford III, appellant, in an automobile belonging to Joyce Sonny, appellant’s girlfriend.
Sheriff Abdalla arrived in Windham and at approximately 4:50 p.m. met local police officials, including Chief Denvir. Around 5:30 p.m. that same afternoon, while Sheriff Abdalla and Chief Denvir waited outside Franks’s apartment for a warrant to enter the premises, appellant, accompanied by Eikelberry and Terri Sonny, Joyce’s daughter, again drove by in Joyce Sonny’s car. Appellant lived with Joyce Sonny and her daughters, Christina, age eighteen, and Terri, age thirteen, in Windham.
At that time, and at Sheriff Abdalla’s request, Chief Denvir stopped the car to talk with Eikelberry about his missing roommate, Franks. As appellant got out of Joyce’s 1975 Chrysler sedan, Abdalla noticed “two survival knives, a hatchet and a small * * * hand saw” in the car. Appellant, who was not detained, waited outside Franks’s house while Abdalla questioned Eikelberry at the police station.
After interviewing Eikelberry, Sheriff Abdalla arrested appellant at around 6:25 p.m. for the murder of Richard Franks and advised appellant of his Miranda rights. After declining to be interviewed, appellant was taken to the Windham Police Department and held while police continued to question Eikelberry. At around 7:15 p.m., appellant on his own initiative indicated that he would like to speak to Sheriff Abdalla and told him, “[S]heriff, I want to talk to you now, I’ll tell you anything you want to know.” Sheriff Abdalla, however, did not talk to appellant right away. Around 8:30 p.m., Abdalla again advised appellant of his Miranda rights, and appellant acknowledged and waived those rights, both orally and in writing.
Appellant told Sheriff Abdalla and Chief Denvir that he lived with Joyce Sonny and her two daughters, Christina and Terri. On Saturday, September 19, two days prior to the murder, Eikelberry told appellant that Franks had raped Christina. After learning this, appellant said that he was very angry and that every time he thought of Franks or saw him he “saw red and started to shake.”
Appellant told Sheriff Abdalla that after learning of the rape, he and Eikelberry decided to kill Franks. The two of them drove around with Franks on Sunday evening, September 20. Appellant said, however, that he and Eikelberry could not find a suitable place to kill Franks. On Monday evening, September 21, on the pretext that they were going deer hunting, appellant, Eikelberry, and Franks drove to Jefferson County, arriving at around 1:00 or 2:00 a.m., September 22. Appellant was familiar with the area and had suggested this as the locale for the killing.
According to appellant, he and Eikelberry told Franks to hold a flashlight, look for deer, and “hold the light in the eye of the deer,” and appellant and Eikelberry would shoot the deer. Instead, as Franks walked off and was ten to twelve feet away, appellant shot him in the back with a .30-06-caliber rifle. After he fell down, Franks was still “gurgling,” and Eikelberry shot Franks in the head with a .22 caliber pistol.
Appellant and Eikelberry then repeatedly shot Franks in the head with the rifle and also shot his hands. Appellant also “took the wallet from Mr. Franks” and handed it to Eikelberry, and Eikelberry removed the hunting license from Franks’s jacket. “[A]fter they [Eikelberry and appellant] had cut [Franks’s] hands off, they took the hands and put them in a * * * cowboy boot and * * * put some rocks in the boot to weigh it down and * * * [ran] the extension cord * * * around the boot.” They shot Franks several times “to disfigure him so he couldn’t be recognizable.” Then “they both [dragged] the body * * * to the embankment * * * [and] shoved the body over the bank.”
Appellant further said that after leaving the scene of the murder, Eikelberry threw the boot containing Franks’s hands into Yellow Creek (some eighteen miles away). On September 25, divers recovered the boot (which contained the hands) from Yellow Creek where appellant reported that it had been thrown.
After he orally confessed to the murder, appellant wrote out details in a three-page handwritten statement that he signed. Chief Denvir and Sheriff Abdalla witnessed appellant’s statement.
Based upon other information from appellant’s confession, police recovered from behind a vent off Joyce Sonny’s living room a loaded “high-powered” .30-06-caliber rifle and a .22 caliber handgun loaded with “hollow point” ammunition. Two knives were also found. Both guns were operable. A parole officer verified that appellant had previously been convicted of burglary and hence was “restricted from owning, possessing or using any type of firearm.”
The grand jury indicted appellant on five counts. Count One alleged aggravated murder with prior calculation and design in violation of R.C. 2903.01(A) and aggravated murder in the course of a kidnapping in violation of R.C. 2903.01(B). Count One of the indictment also charged appellant with an R.C. 2929.04(A)(7) death penalty specification for committing aggravated murder during the course of a kidnapping. Count Two alleged an aggravated murder with prior calculation and design in violation of R.C. 2903.01 and aggravated murder in the course of aggravated robbery in violation of R.C. 2903.01(B). Count Two also charged appellant with an R.C. 2929.04(A)(7) death penalty specification of committing aggravated murder during the course of committing an aggravated robbery. Count Three alleged kidnapping, Count Four alleged aggravated robbery, and Count Five alleged that appellant had a weapon while under disability. Counts One through Four contained gun specifications. Counts Three and Four also contained specifications enhancing the penalty, and these alleged that appellant had previously been convicted of burglary.