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Alleged Triggerman in Breakfast Murder Says He Was ‘Framed’

A man charged with gunning down a rival during breakfast at the popular eatery Louis' Family Restaurant says he is "scared" of guns due to a previous attack during which he was shot nine times.

Alleged Triggerman in Breakfast Murder Says He Was ‘Framed’ Alleged Triggerman in Breakfast Murder Says He Was ‘Framed’
By Joseph Hosey

A Joliet man charged with brutally gunning down a rival while he breakfasted with his wife and young children at a popular West Jefferson Street eatery said he was never even in the restaurant and that he is "scared" of guns.

"I'm scared. I got shot nine times. I don't want to see a gun," Christopher "Little" Thompson blurted during his bond hearing Monday afternoon.

Thompson, 31, allegedly shot down 29-year-old Gerardo Franchini in Louis' Family restaurant Saturday morning. Franchini was eating with his wife, Edna, and two children, ages 4 and 5, when Thompson opened fire and shot him "multiple times" in his head and body, said Assistant State's Attorney Michael Fitzgerald.

Thompson and a woman were in the restaurant earlier that morning and he and Franchini argued, Fitzgerald said. Thompson walked out but returned about 20 minutes later and had a .45-caliber pistol when he came back, he said.

Franchini was taken from Louis' to Presence St. Joseph Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

Franchini's wife and other witnesses picked Thompson out of a photo lineup and identified him as the triggerman, Fitzgerald said. The police then tracked Thompson down at a girlfriend's home on Carnation Drive in Crest Hill. After capturing Thompson at his lady's place, police searched the residence and found a pair of handguns, one of which was a .45, Fitzgerald said.

The police questioned Thompson but he denied even being in the restaurant, Fitzgerald said, but an "associate" of his told the law she had breakfast with him there Saturday morning and that when he left he was "very angry."

Thompson was still denying that he killed Franchini during his bond hearing, despite repeated warnings from Will County Judge Roger Rickmon that everything he said was being recorded and could be used against him. That didn't seem to bother Thompson, who exclaimed early in the proceedings that he had been framed.

"Your honor, I'm the victim," Thompson said. "I'm the one that got shot in the face and now I'm being framed."

Thompson claimed he had been shot "nine times and ain't nobody arrested." Thompson also said he "died from it."

Joliet police Cmdr. Brian Benton said he was not aware of Thompson ever having been shot. Benton said Monday afternoon that he would look into the matter.

Regardless of what the police were aware of, Thompson was adamant that he had been shot nine times, including in his face and "everywhere you can see me." He also disputed Fitzgerald's contention that his nickname "Little" is a "street name."

Judge Rickmon noted the "callousness" of the alleged gun attack and set Thompson's bond at $10 million.

Fitzgerald said during the hearing that Thompson has two prior weapons crime convictions. The man he allegedly murdered, with whom Thompson reportedly had a contentious history, was charged with a murder of his own in 2007, according to court records.

Franchini allegedly murdered Brenda Greenwood and wounded Merced Costilla during a January 2007 break-in. A jury found Franchini innocent of all charges the following year.

A second man charged with the killing, Jaime Casillas, was also acquitted.

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