A man accused of criminally negligent homicide in a crash on Chapman Highway that left a 22-year-old dead appeared in a courtroom for the first time Thursday.
Franco Cambrany Francisco-Eduardo, 44, was set to appear in court for arraignment last Thursday on the homicide charge but that hearing happened in jail instead, according to a 10News reporter who was at sessions court last week.
In the courtroom Thursday, the judge reset a preliminary hearing for Jan. 17, 2019. It was initially set for Jan. 10.
The judge revoked bond for Francisco-Eduardo until that preliminary hearing because there was fear that ICE would take him and he would not be able to appear in court. Therefore, he will stay in Knox County custody.
"The fact that the defendant is subject to deportation, the fact that the ICE agents are coming to get him, the fact that he is not available for court is a direct result of the defendant's actions, or really non-actions, in the fact that he is here illegally," said Knox County Assistant Attorney General Rachel Russell.
Francisco-Eduardo was arrested on Dec. 29 after KPD investigators said he was responsible for a crash on Chapman Highway that killed 22-year-old Pierce Kennedy Corcoran.
When he was arrested, there was a hold for ICE on the warrant. A couple days later, he was transferred to an ICE holding facility in Alabama. According to our reporter in the courtroom Thursday, Francisco-Eduardo was there from Jan. 4 through Jan. 9. Authorities reportedly transferred him back to Knox County the day before Thursday's hearing.
"I went out to the detention facility on new year’s day and saw my client and discovered that he couldn’t speak English well enough to converse. So I had to find someone who could serve as a translator," said Mark Stephens, the public defender appointed to Francisco-Eduardo. "He was both physically and emotionally distraught. There was a lot going on. He didn’t know about his family or where they were."
Pierce, the victim in the crash, is the son of Knoxville Fire Department Captain DJ Corcoran. Corcoran and his wife were in court Thursday.
They declined to speak following the hearing initially, but Pierce’s mother posted a note on Facebook about her son. “I’m sorry Pierce,” she wrote in part. “Sorry you didn’t get to live out all the plans you were making. I love you my precious Pierce.”
10News was able to sit down with the two again Thursday night to hear their thoughts on the day in court. Both said they are angry about the circumstances in this case, but they are also forgiving.
"I didn't have hatred in my heart for him. I really didn't. I expect him to be remorseful. I really do. If the shoe was on the other foot and that was something, I would feel so terrible," D.J. said.
Both said they hope the suspect is held accountable in the justice system and eventually deported.
The two also appeared on Fox News for a second time to voice their frustration about what they called a broken immigrating system, saying the government had failed them.
Members of Francisco-Eduardo’s family were also present in the courtroom Thursday.