ThePoliticalCat

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Monday, December 10, 2007

Nailah Franklin: Who Is Reginald Potts?

Photo from Princess Dominique's site

Latest update here. To find all posts about Nailah Franklin, type "Nailah Franklin" in the box at the top left corner of this page and hit RETURN. To find all posts about Reginald Potts, type "Reginald Potts" and do not include his middle initial or honorifics. Thanks.

The story of Reginald Potts, Jr., the man charged with the first-degree murder of Nailah O. Franklin of Chicago, is getting more interesting by the minute. Various news reports give Potts' age as 30 or 31. According to a Chicago station WBBM, Potts's records show an array of aliases, Social Security numbers and dates of birth. WBBM also reports that Potts
made good use of legal libraries to defend himself, ... allegedly nearly came to blows with one of his own attorneys, and ... is not shy about making taunting phone calls to detectives who are investigating him. In fact, until his arrest for Franklin's slaying, Potts stayed in regular contact with Harrison Area detectives, offering DNA samples and to take lie detector tests.
He is described by the Chicago Tribune as a real estate investor and owner of a hedge fund investment company, Amaya Investment Group, LLC. However, State authorities apparently dissolved the Amaya Investment Group for failing to file a timely financial statement. In June 2007 Potts stated before a judge that he was unemployed and indigent and did not own a home or a car. In November Potts told a reporter for the Chicago Sun Times that he was a successful hedge fund manager and real estate investor.

Potts is believed to have owned a Bentley and a late-model Mercedes, both expensive cars. He also apparently owns a condo in a posh district of Chicago and a home in the suburbs. However, he is apparently in foreclosure proceedings on the suburban home and claims of failure to pay homeowners' association fees have apparently been filed on the condo. He is also the subject of outstanding warrants for approximately $40,000 in child support owed.

Potts has a criminal record in four Illinois counties over the past decade. He has had eight convictions, most of them for violent crimes against the person, although he apparently has also committed property crimes. He was believed to be involved in a car theft ring, and was convicted for possession of stolen cars in 1997 and given a seven-year sentence. Two short years later, in 1999, he was out of prison. Shortly afterwards, while briefly attending Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, he was arrested on unspecified minor charges.

Sometime in 2001, Potts was arrested for threatening to kill a Highland Park police detective and his family because the detective was, apparently, investigating Potts' ties to a car theft ring. Potts was taken into custody in June 2001 and handcuffed to a bench in the Dirksen Federal Building and left alone briefly. He somehow managed to escape and evaded the FBI for two weeks, calling them periodically to taunt them. In 2002, Potts was sentenced to three years at the Big Muddy Correctional Center in Ina for the crime of intimidation.

In 2003, Potts was charged with hitting a correctional officer in the eye. He pleaded guilty. In 2004, while in custody, he repeatedly called his ex-girlfriend's family and threatened them. From the Chicago Tribune article:
"I know where you live," he told the man, who didn't want to press charges, but said he wanted police to record the information "in case something more serious happened," according to the report.
The man in question is the ex-girlfriend's brother-in-law. The ex-girlfriend declined to press charges, doubtless out of fear.

It sounds as if Potts was released from prison in 2005. However, he had already been involved with the woman he married, as he has a five-year-old daughter with her. Sometime in 2006, the woman gave birth to a second child by Potts.
Photo from Princess Dominique's site

By spring of 2006, Potts had already met Nailah Franklin. As you can see from the photograph, he's a good-looking young dude, and Nailah, like many other women her age, was probably looking for love. Unfortunately, she crossed Potts' path, and started seeing him regularly in mid-2006. Some in the blogosphere have faulted her for getting mixed up with a conman and a crook. It seems that's unwarranted. The reason successful conmen are successful is, they have an inordinate quantity of that rare human quality, charm. Clearly, Potts could be charming. Charming enough to seduce many women into intimate relationships and who knows how many men into financial relationships.

And Nailah was no fool. She apparently requested that a friend of hers, Alyssia Bailey, ask her sister who was an attorney to perform a background check on Mr. Potts. This statement comes from Potts himself, and since he's established a rather estranged relationship with veracity, methinks the only reason he issued this statement is, as all liars know, you must mix your lies with a little truth for them to be believable.

Nailah's family claims never to have met Potts. Potts claims he had a relationship with Nailah that lasted for approximately 18 months, on again, off again. Nailah was very close to her family, as shown by their immediate reaction to her disappearance.

Since Potts has repeatedly lied about many things, we at this blog tend to believe that his relationship with Nailah was neither as long nor as serious as he portrayed it.

In November, 2006, Potts' ex-wife filed for an order of protection against him. In the course of their relationship, she had apparently, for fear of him, moved to an undisclosed location. Understandably she was disconcerted when he turned up at her new home, uninvited, beating on and kicking the door and demanding to see his children. She requested the order of protection, according to court documents uncovered by the Chicago Tribune, because he had previously assaulted her, requiring her to seek treatment at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. In court documents discovered by WBBM, his ex-wife stated
she feared Potts because "he has a bad temper,'' according to court documents. " ... He doesn't know when to stop and when it's too far,'' the woman wrote.

[...]

She also said Potts told her he could "do a lot of damage to me'' before the police get there, the records show.
Sometime in March 2007, Potts was released from parole.

In May, 2007, Potts showed up at the home of his ex-wife, apparently angry with her because she had not allowed his mother to take her children out for the day. He entered the house and when she tried to call the police on her cellphone, snatched the phone out of her hand. According to the report:
"I went to open my cell phone to call police and at that point he came in the house and started to scream at my face telling me that he wasn't going to play these games with me," the woman wrote in her complaint.
His words - "not going to play these games with you" are interesting. He used almost identical words in his email to Nailah Franklin.

During this time, Potts had also been involved with another woman, who, in mid-2007, gave birth to a child by him. By September 2007, she had twice attempted to file for a restraining order (order of protection) against him, claiming that he assaulted her, and came to her home and fired through the window into the bedroom where she lay sleeping with their child. He then called her mother and said "Next time, they won't miss," referring to the bullets. This occurred shortly before Nailah Franklin disappeared on September 18th.

In August of 2007, according to Potts, he was dating yet another young woman and happened to run into a friend of Nailah's who told her about the encounter. Nailah called Potts and quizzed him about his new girlfriend. Potts hung up on her. Around the first week of September, Nailah sent her friend an article about Potts' escape from federal custody and cc'ed it to Potts. Potts was furious. He sent her a truly nasty, vituperative email. In response, she sent him an email threatening to have him put behind bars.

This is the text of the last email that Nailah Franklin sent to Reginald Potts, Jr., courtesy of Princess Dominique's site:
Date: Mon, 10 Sep 2007 21:14:21 -0700 (PDT)
From: “Nailah Franklin”
Subject: FYI
To: “Reginald”
HTML Attachment [ Scan and Save to Computer ]

I have filed a police report, I will be getting an order of protection tomorrow. You will not threaten me with those videos, I will have you locked up for taking them from my house. If you come anywhere near me you will be back in jail, I promise. You are crazy, you disrespect women, you are a bully, you are extremely hateful, but you are not going to bully me. You are messing with the wrong chick this time. I will have you locked up where you belong for good!

Nailah
Nailah Franklin
A week before Franklin disappeared, she had called police to complain that Potts had threatened her. The police advised her to file for a restraining order. Police spokespeople have stated that she was in the process of filing when she disappeared.

During the time between the reported disappearance of Nailah Franklin, on September 19th, and the arrest of Reginald Potts Jr. on charges of first degree murder in Nailah Franklin's death, Potts was arrested five times.
  • October 5, misdemeanor battery for allegedly threatening a gas station attendant;
  • October 30, violation of restraining order (he apparently faxed the mother of his child notifying her of the court date);
  • October 30, resisting arrest, assaulting an officer (when sherriff's deputies attempted to arrest him for the restraining order violation, he elbowed one of them);
  • November 8, violating another restraining order filed by his ex-wife (apparently, Potts wrote her an email which he forwarded to his own family and friends, and his sister "inadvertantly" sent it to the ex-wife);
  • Nov 9, no-show at a court-ordered hearing on the first violation of restraining order (this seems somewhat unfair, since the reason he didn't show is, he was sitting on his ass in jail).
Somehow, in the midst of this busy schedule, Potts found time to make a video protesting his innocence of the Franklin murder, and post it to YouTube. (The video has been yanked.) He also sought out Mary Mitchell of the Chicago Sun Times for a three-hour interview. In addition, it seems he was websurfing in search of his name, and posting about his innocence all over the blogosphere.

A week before he was charged with the murder of Nailah Franklin, Mary Mitchell of the Chicago Sun Times wrote an article about the differing treatment meted out to Reginald Potts and Drew Peterson. The article included an allegation that Potts has been assaulted by correctional officers:
"When he was in custody, Reginald told the judge that he had been assaulted by police. Reginald made a statement in open court that he had been assaulted, but the judge said she didn't see any bruises," said the observer, who asked for anonymity.

The medical records from Loyola University Medical Center show Potts was treated in the emergency room on that date for a "minor head and wrist injury."

"After Reginald made that statement in open court, they [sheriff deputies] beat the s--- out of him," the observer said. "It's just ridiculous. It's really sad."

The Cook County sheriff's office denied that any deputies abused Potts.
It is quite possible that overzealous deputies may have taken matters into their own hands in the treatment of Potts. Mary Mitchell, here's why we think the police are treating Potts differently from Peterson:
  • Potts is a repeat offender. Peterson may be suspected of being a repeat offender but he has never (yet) been convicted of any crime;
  • Potts once escaped from FBI custody. G-men don't like egg on their face, and they're involved in this case because Potts (or someone) transported Nailah across state lines. I'm not saying the Feds encouraged any maltreatment, but I'm sure they wouldn't go out of their way to protect Potts;
  • Potts was convicted of threatening to kill a policeman and his family. Cops protect their own;
  • Peterson is a cop. Again, cops protect their own;
  • While on the lam, Potts taunted the police/FBI in phone calls. Cops really really don't like people making fun of them.
Several things stand out in Potts' rambling defenses of himself. In the interview with Mary Mitchell of the Chicago Sun Times, Mitchell asks him if he had anything to do with Franklin's murder. He replies that he did not, but also adds that he did not pay anyone to do anything to her either. ??? That was not the question. Why would he even raise it?

In his defense of himself on Princess Dominique's blog, Potts states:
1. Nailah never did any Real Estate transactions for me or through my company, and I did not owe her any money from a deal gone bad.
2. We were NOT boyfriend and girlfriend
3. She was not about to expose me for some illegal activity. I don’t engage in any illegal practices.
4. She did not ruin a relationship with the mother of my Daughter, by telling her we had been involved, that relationship was already over.
5. I am not a DRUG DEALER! I have never been arrested on any illicit drug charges.
No one ever raised the question of him possibly handling property transactions for Nailah or borrowing money from her or giving her poor investment advice that she followed to her loss. No one asked about her exposing his illegal activities or possible drug dealing. And I don't think anyone even knew at the time that Potts' name surfaced in the inquiries around Franklin's death that he had a daughter. Besides, it's just a blog, not a jury of his peers. One would think that a person who had spent some time in law libraries would know better than to go shooting his mouth off to total strangers without advice of counsel, or making such incriminating statements.

Another thing: If Potts had threatened Nailah, and she was afraid of him (as she had good reason to be), would she have willingly gone out to see him by herself? Yet, she supposedly left her house to have dinner with unspecified persons according to her last communication, a vague text message to friends and family. Chicago police have stated that Potts was acting alone. They have also charged him with auto theft and robbery. The legal definition of robbery is "taking by force or fear." What did Potts take from Nailah Franklin? Her work computer and her personal computer were both reported missing after her death. Does that mean that Potts (or whoever murdered her, if he is innocent) entered her home and took her computers at gunpoint, then killed her and transported her body to a forested area in Calumet City and drove her car to Hammond, Indiana, where it was discovered? At what time did the murderer dispose of the computers? Why? How did the murderer get back to his own domicile after getting rid of the body, the computers, and the car?

There are a great many unanswered questions surrounding the murder of Nailah Franklin. What a beautiful, intelligent, warm, sweet woman to come to such a horrible end. Mr. Potts, if you're responsible, confess. Nothing can be gained from holding out.

A video clip of Franklin's sisters' press conference is available courtesy of the Chicago Tribune here.

Thanks to Princess Dominique, the Chicago Tribune, and the Chicago Sun Times for some excellent coverage of this sad story.

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