David L. Ryan/Globe Staff
Evan Franklin, the former Revere police sergeant who ran from the scene where a fellow officer, Daniel Talbot, was shot to death, testified today that he was drunk and scared when he fled.
Franklin, who was fired from the department two years ago, said he was "in a state of shock'' after a group of masked men allegedly began firing on him, Talbot, and Officer William Soto on Sept. 29, 2007, while all the officers were off-duty and drinking beer at Revere High School. Franklin testified in Suffolk Superior Court that his gun was in Soto's truck and that he was not wearing a bulletproof vest.
"It was a gunfight, and I was in the middle of it, with no weapon,'' Franklin testified today during the first-degree murder trial of Robert Iacoviello Jr., who allegedly shot and killed Talbot because he mistakenly thought the officer was a rival gang member.
Also on trial is James Heang, who is charged with accessory after the fact of murder for allegedly dismantling the murder weapon. Both men have pleaded not guilty.
The courtroom was packed today when Franklin took the witness stand. The seats were filled by Franklin's former colleagues, relatives of Talbot, and relatives of the defendants. Talbot's brother was seen kneading his hands and being comforted by a woman as Franklin described how he abandoned Talbot and Soto to the shooting.
The three officers, along with Talbot's then-fiancée and a fourth Revere officer, had spent the night drinking at a local bar and were still drinking when the shooting took place. Talbot taunted a gang member but did not identify himself as an officer, allegedly leading Iacoviello to fire retaliatory gunfire into the park early that morning.
Franklin, whose tie hung loosely from his neck, testified that after he heard gunfire, he ran onto Beach Street where he spotted a Revere police cruiser rushing to the scene. He asked the officer to take him home, but the officer responded he was heading toward the scene so Franklin asked to be dropped off on Broadway.
Franklin admitted that he did not tell the officer he had been with Talbot. He also admitted he did not call 911 to get help for Talbot, and he also failed to tell his superior officers he was present at the shooting.
"All I could think about was getting home. … I had a 1 1/2-year-old daughter,'' Franklin testified. "That's all I could think of at the time. I don't have an answer for my actions that night. I know my actions that night were wrong.''
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