Barletta Celebrates News of Anthony Rocco Franklin’s Planned Extradition
WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) celebrated the news that accused murderer Anthony Rocco Franklin will be extradited to face criminal trial in Columbia County, Pennsylvania. Franklin, accused with his daughter of the 2012 murder of his son-in-law Frank Spencer, had fled to Argentina, where he has been imprisoned since September 2014. The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office yesterday confirmed in an email to Barletta's office that Franklin will be turned over to the U.S. Marshals Service in the coming weeks. The Attorney General's office thanked Barletta and Congressman Tom Marino (PA-10) for their assistance with extradition efforts.
“This is great news for the friends and family of Frank Spencer, the residents of Columbia County, and the members of law enforcement who have worked tirelessly to secure this fugitive’s extradition,” Barletta said. “While this was a long time coming, justice will truly be served when Franklin returns home to face his murder charge in court.”
Barletta and Marino have been deeply involved in Franklin’s extradition from the very beginning. The two members of Congress have corresponded with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Ambassador Martin Lousteau, and his predecessor, former Ambassador Cecilia Nahon. At each step of the way, Barletta and Marino argued for Franklin’s return to Columbia County and to be kept informed about the progress of the case.
Franklin’s daughter, Maria Sanutti-Spencer, who was married to Frank Spencer, has already been convicted of her role in the murder and is serving a life sentence. When a Columbia County grand jury began discussing possible charges against Franklin, he fled the jurisdiction and was ultimately apprehended on an international warrant in Buenos Aires. A judge in Argentina ruled in December 2015 that Franklin was to be extradited to the U.S. for trial, but he exercised his right of appeal.
During a phone conversation with Ambassador Lousteau last April, Barletta was told that the Argentinian Supreme Court had denied Franklin’s appeal and he would be extradited. However, about a week after that conversation, the Argentinian government said that Franklin had one final appeal remaining, leading Barletta to demand that former Secretary of State John Kerry send a letter to Argentinian officials asking for Franklin’s extradition.
The Attorney General’s Office said that the U.S. Marshals Service will pick up Franklin by April 15, 2017.
“I commend the Columbia County police and prosecutors, the Pennsylvania State Police, the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office, the U.S. Departments of Justice and State, and the Argentinian authorities for their hard work and cooperation throughout this process,” Barletta said. “I also wish to thank my colleague, Congressman Tom Marino, who has been my partner in this effort from the very beginning.”