John-Ashton Allen said he “shut down” when his sister’s badly decomposed body was found in a weeded area behind a vacant video store in Calumet City in the fall of 2007.
Initially, when the family told Allen that Nailah Franklin was missing, the then “typical college-bound over-achieving brat,” convinced his panicked mother that her vibrant, inspiring daughter would show up the next day.
“I dealt with her disappearance the only way I knew how: I didn’t,” Allen read from a victim-impact statement on Wednesday before Cook County Judge Thomas Gainer Jr.
When Franklin was discovered strangled more than a week later, Allen said he did not know how to process the loss of his “favorite sibling” who would invite him to visit her in college and took him to Six Flags.
Allen, 25, was the first relative called on by prosecutors to testify at Reginald Potts’ multiple-day sentencing hearing.
Potts, now 38, ambushed Franklin in her University Village condo building and killed her in a fit of rage because she put an end to their short-lived relationship, according to prosecutors.
Allen said he was shocked by Potts’ “dispassionate demeanor” during his trial several months ago. Allen called Potts “unapologetic,” “arrogant” and in possession of the “same ego that caused him to do the unthinkable.”
Allen said he remembers very few details searching for Franklin and her subsequent funeral, because he distanced himself from others.
“I completely shut down and blocked out the rest of my senior year,” said Allen, who said he suffered from depression and anxiety.
“I spoke to nobody about the feelings deep inside, not even to myself.”
Several Cook County sheriff’s deputies and Potts’ friends from the real estate industry also took the stand Wednesday, describing incidents in which they said Potts’ fiery temper got the best of him.
Potts’ sentencing hearing is expected to continue on Thursday.