Family of San Tan Valley murder victim reacts to convicted teen sentenced to life in prison

The Pinal County Sheriff’s Office said it was Joshua Franklin, who was 16 at the time of the crime, that shot McCoy three times.
Published: Jun. 25, 2023 at 10:23 PM MST
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SAN TAN VALLEY, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - The family of 15-year-old Joshua McCoy says justice was served. On Sunday, friends and family of Josh gathered at a San Tan Valley park near his family’s former home. They were honoring the lives of friends lost to gun violence and celebrated the sentencing in McCoy’s case.

“Josh was just a bright light in this world. He was so full of love, generosity. He had this incredible smile. It was just infectious,” said Gina McCoy, Josh’s mother. She’s holding on tight to the memories she has with her son after the 15-year-old was murdered on the doorstep of their home in September 2021.

“It’s not something you ever think is going to happen. It’s hard enough to accept the loss of a child, let alone knowing that that child died by someone else choosing to snuff him out,” said Gina.

The Pinal County Sheriff’s Office said Joshua Franklin, who was 16 at the time of the crime, shot McCoy three times. Gina said it was over an alleged defective nicotine cartridge Franklin bought from her son. Josh planned to give him a new cartridge before being killed.

Noah McCoy, Josh’s older brother, said he was upstairs when the shooting happened. “There are really no words to put behind that feeling. It’s so sudden, callous and senseless. It doesn’t even feel real. It really feels like you’re living a dream and that, at any moment, you’re just going to wake up,” said Noah.

Franklin was charged as an adult with 1st-degree Murder and 1st-degree Burglary. During Franklin’s trial, the jury found him guilty earlier this year. This week, he was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after serving 35 years.

“At the moment of the guilty verdicts, my heart just went out to this young man and his family. This never had to happen, but it did. And as much as I feel compassion, there is a price to pay,” said Gina. She said she’s praying Franklin learns from this but hopes more children will also reflect on her son’s story. Gina said she sees too many cases of children-killing-children. She wants gun violence to end.

She urges children to reach out to their parents or a trusted adult, no matter how big the problem is. She added that parents love their children and will be there for them. “I hope that people pay closer attention to each other, to words that are said. Don’t take words lightly,” said Gina.

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