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Franks reportedly admits to stabbing father to death, will make court appearance Wednesday

BOZEMAN-The Bozeman man accused of stabbing his father to death reportedly told a detective the day after the homicide that he killed his dad and there was no doubt about it.

According to court documents filed Dec. 14, by the Gallatin County Attorney’s office, Tanner Franks, 37, reportedly asked if a detective was available to talk to him on Nov. 22, 2017, the day after he was arrested and charged with the stabbing death of his father, William Franks. Tanner was being held in the Gallatin County Detention Center.

Tanner is scheduled to make an initial appearance in district court Wednesday, Dec. 20.

At approximately 10:31 p.m. on Nov. 22, when the detective met with Tanner, he waived his rights and told the officer that he was involved in an argument with his father about his job. Tanner said the argument turned physical when he pushed his father who responded by punching at him. Tanner told the detective that he punched and beat his father to the ground then grabbed a knife and “knifed him.”

Tanner reportedly described his father as having a “face for everyone and a different face for his family,” and indicated his father was physically abusive and a psychological manipulator. He also expressed frustration that his father had a secret lifestyle and behaviors he would not acknowledge.

Tanner told the detective he was in “an absolute blackout rage” during the argument.

During his brief appearance in Gallatin County Justice Court on Nov. 22, 2017, Tanner claimed he had no understanding of what was happening to him, prompting Judge Rick West to caution him about what he was saying during the court proceeding.

Tanner said, “Your honor, I didn’t hurt anybody. I don’t know why I’m here. My father’s alive.”

Judge West: “The best thing at this point would be to do is to exercise your Fifth Amendment right. We’ve appointed the public defender’s office, and what they can do is that they will talk to you in reference to your legal and your constitutional rights.”

According to charging documents, shortly before noon on Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017, Tanner’s mother walked into her neighbor’s house on North 9th in Bozeman and said Tanner had stabbed her husband, William.

The neighbor called 911 and Bozeman police officers responded to the Franks’ home and found William dead on the kitchen floor.

William appeared to have lacerations to his face, body, and hands. A bloody towel was found nearby.

Mrs. Franks told officers that she and William were in the kitchen when their son Tanner became upset and stabbed William with a knife.

She told officers that Tanner was her son and that he lived in a basement bedroom of the home. She said she saw Tanner grab a large knife from the kitchen and stabbed William in the chest and then leave in his car.

Mrs. Franks was not injured in the incident.

The neighbor told officers she saw a black Subaru that was parked in front of the home “aggressively” pull out and leave the area, approximately 30-40 minutes before Mrs. Franks came to her residence.

Tanner’s ex-girlfriend who lives in Big Sky was then contacted; she told an officer that Tanner had just arrived at her residence.

She said when Tanner overheard that a police officer was on the phone, he kissed her on the forehead and left.

Tanner was found and arrested shortly after that.

He reportedly told a Gallatin County Sheriff’s deputy that he knew the reason for his arrest.

According to Captain Cory Klumb of the Bozeman Police Department, William worked at the Bozeman High School for 34 years, starting as an English teacher in 1975 and retiring as Associate Principal in 2007.

The Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office, Montana Highway Patrol, US Forest Service, MSU Police Department and FBI helped with the investigation.

-Ken Spencer, Kenneth Webb, Kaitlin Corbett reporting for MTN News