LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — For nearly six years, no arrests were made in the drive-by shooting death of Deontre Rhodes.
That changed Wednesday when 33-year-old Rodney Franklin of Little Rock was taken into custody. He is now facing a first-degree murder charge for the 19-year-old’s death.
The affidavit for how Rodney Franklin was arrested simply says he was identified as a suspect. Rodney Franklin pled not guilty Thursday in court. He goes before a judge again on March 6, 2023. The exact six-year anniversary of when Deontre Rhodes was shot.
The last time our station spoke to Deontre’s mother, Tywania Rhodes, was 48 hours after that fateful day. Now, it has been over 50,000 hours since her son’s death.
“I miss him,” she uttered while flipping through an album filled with the years of her son’s life.
Tywania Rhodes has a hard time thinking of the time they lost. On March 6, 2017, just before noon, Deontre Rhodes was walking down John Barrow Road, when he was shot in the neck. The teen’s bleeding body streamed over Facebook live. He died of heart failure in the hospital with his mom by his side.
“I told them I don’t want to pull no plug. I just let him go on his own,” Rhodes recalled.
Despite not making it out alive, Deontre was a fighter. Over the years Tywania has shown she’s one too. She’s called the Little Rock Police Department homicide team for answers every year. It is something she encourages every family with an unsolved case to do.
“Just keep on calling and calling like I was and keeping in touch, you know. Because they had lost my number and stuff, and I just happened to call them back,” Rhodes said.
Even when the case went cold years ago, she kept trying. It was reopened, and this week she got the news she waited for. Franklin being charged for her son’s murder.
“I know it took a long time, but it finally came for justice,” she said.
Even though Tywania knows she’ll have to relive every moment of her son’s death again in court, she knows it will be worth it. She doesn’t know why her son was killed, but soon she can look into the eyes of her son’s accused killer and seek closure.
“I’d ask him why. You know. Why did he do it?” Rhodes said.
With her one son gone, she’s holding onto his son, her grandson, closely. D.J. takes after his father. His full name is Deontre Tywan Rose Junior.
Tywania’s advice to parents and what she plans to do with her grandson as he becomes a teen is this.
“Stay in his life and put him in sports and stuff, you know. Do stuff like that to keep him out the streets,” she said. “It’s really important to do that because I wish I would have, you know, with the Deontre.”