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Florida traffic stop nets Gwinnett murder suspect

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Authorities got their hands on a Gwinnett murder suspect who's been on the lam for eight years when he was spotted driving a Florida highway with his headlights off Saturday evening, officials said.

Trelane Estea Franklin, 29, had been wanted for murder and aggravated assault in the May 2003 death of Marcus Chapman and the shooting of Corey Phoenix. Warrants on those charges were filed in 2003 following the Norcross incident, said Gwinnett County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Stacey Bourbonnais.

Gwinnett County police brought the 2003 charges. Details on the homicide and shooting were not available Monday, a Gwinnett police detective said.

Franklin's encounter with authorities started as a routine traffic stop.

A Florida Highway Patrol trooper spotted a 1997 Lexus headed southbound on Interstate 95 with its headlights off near Ormond Beach about 8 p.m. Saturday. Franklin, the driver, presented a South Carolina drivers license with a name that didn't match a bank card he was carrying. The trooper became suspicious and ran Franklin's fingerprints with a handheld identity device, said Sgt. Kim Montes, Florida Highway Patrol spokeswoman.

Fingerprint records identified Franklin, who's been living in Jacksonville, as being wanted in Gwinnett. The trooper also uncovered 9.8 grams of marijuana in the vehicle, Montes said.

Bourbonnais said Franklin remains in custody in Volusia County, Fla., awaiting extradition back to Georgia.

In Florida, he was cited for a traffic violation and charged with possession of marijuana, Montes said.