Ex-cop, ex-con case pending in Broward County 4 years later
Victim wants her day in court
BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. – Kenneth A. Frank is an ex-cop and former convict from New York, who is now under investigation by the Florida Bar’s Unlicensed Practice of Law Department after being accused of duping people out of their money by pretending to be an attorney.
To add to the legal cloud over his head, Frank also has a pending aggravated battery charge pending against him in Broward County from a 2011 case.
The victim in the battery case, who wants her day in court, claims that the process is being delayed. There have been more than 30 continuances on her case since it began.
"He left for me dead," stated Lynda Suzanne Whedon. "I am scared of him and what he is capable of doing."
Whedon told Hillsboro Beach police in 2011 that Frank punched her in the face for singing on his boat. The police report said that Whedon’s injuries were so bad that she “was covered in blood from her scalp to her waist.”
A warrant was issued on Oct. 14, 2011 and 12 days later the Broward County Sheriff’s Office arrested Frank at a bar. He was charged with aggravated battery.
Prosecutors said they would not comment on why it has taken more than four years to bring the case to trial.
Whedon is now left wondering why she can’t get closure.
"Standby subpoena, standby subpoena and I’m like, did I have to die? Why are they prolonging this? I just don’t understand I don’t matter?" Whedon asked in a Skype interview.
Former state and federal prosecutor David Weinstein said when cases get old people’s memories fade, and that’s when a victim’s voice can get "lost."
"Because the victim is not there, they continuing to get standby subpoenas. They are told, 'We are not going to forget about you. We are not going to let this case go away,' but that is what the defense hopes," Weinstein said. "The defense hopes that eventually the victim says 'You know what already? Enough already. Go ahead and resolve it by way of a plea.'"
He said that if a victim isn’t as strong of an advocate for their case as they were in the beginning, the prosecutor will start handing out a plea that is likely to favor the defendant more than it is to the victim.
"All it takes is one victim to raise their voice and say, 'Why isn’t my case moving forward?'" Weinstein said.
Whedon refuses to give up her fight.
"I am not letting this go – this guy beat the crap out of me," she said. "I have the scars to prove it on my forehead from his ring."
Whedon said that in 2011 she was on a boat with Frank, whom she’d been friends with for several months, when a song came on the radio and she began to sing along.
Whedon said Frank asked her to stop singing, and she thought he was kidding, so she continued to sing.
"He said you need to shut the 'F' up and started beating my face," Whedon said. "His fists were hitting my face so fast that I could not even fall – he was hitting me so fast and so hard that blood just came gushing out of my body."
She said he didn’t let her get her cellphone stating, "You will just call 911."
Whedon eventually convinced him to drop her off at a dock.
"Upon being dropped off the victim had one foot on the dock and was trying to get her cell phone back from the defendant when he pulled the vessel away and the victim fell into the water," Detective John Landry wrote in a police report.
Landry said Frank made no attempt to render first aid to Whedon and "deprived her of means of communication to call 911 for help."
"The victim ran into the roadway and flagged down a vehicle who then called the Hillsboro Beach Police Department," Landry wrote.
Whedon suffered large lacerations to her forehead and bruises on her arms.
It is stated in another report that Whedon thought the injuries might have been caused, "by a large ring, which is clustered with white rocks and from a large heavy bracelet, which the suspect is wearing."
Frank is pictured with a ring and bracelet matching that description in a photo obtained by Local 10 News.
"He left me for dead," said Whedon. "He didn’t stick around on his boat to see if I got on that dock. I don’t deserve to be beaten up by anybody. People should not be able to get away with abusing other people."
Hillsboro Beach police would note that the victim was re-interviewed twice after the initial report was made.
"The victim’s story is consistent," Landry wrote.
Police reports said that Whedon, who was interviewed twice, had a story that remained consistent, and that they had a tough time finding Frank after the warrant was issued in mid-October 2011.
Police visited Frank’s last known address on six occasions, called him and even spoke to his attorney who “decided against allowing the suspect to provide a formal statement," a police report said.
Whedon’s case has been "pending," despite Frank’s October 2011 arrest.
The Broward County State Attorney’s Office did not comment on why it has taken more than four years to bring this case to trial.
Whedon has provided Local 10 News crime scene photos from the 2011 case that she said were from a disc sent to her by the Hillsboro Beach Police Department.
In an email Maj. Jay Szesnat of the Hillsboro Beach Police Department stated they could not confirm the photos as any photos they have are currently in evidence until the case goes to trial.
"How can anybody who had done as many wrongs as him still be out there? Protect the people of your community," stated Whedon, "against criminals that continue to commit heinous crimes. He needs to be locked up for a long, long, lifetime long time."
New York public records show decades ago Frank was a New Rochelle police officer before serving time on a drug charge.
People who identify themselves as victims of him claim not enough is being done to hold Frank accountable.
Since 2011 the court has granted 35 defense motions for continuance in this case.
In a statement Frank’s attorney Deborah Carpenter-Toye said the continuances were obtained to allow discovery to be conducted.
"The Court File will reflect that the State Attorney's Office and the Judge presiding over this case have not objected to the continuances," the statement said.
Weinstein reviewed the docket and said while it is not uncommon for there to be a handful of continuances on a case like this, which can stretch a hearing out for upward of two years, more than 30 throughout a four years is "excessive."
"At some point the judge has to step in and say 'Enough is enough, you’ve had plenty of time to get ready. You’ve done everything you need to do. I am going to specially set this case for trial. It is going to be No. 1 on my docket and we are going to go to trial or we are going to resolve it by way of a plea,'" said Weinstein. "That’s what needs to be done in this particular instance."
The docket shows Judge Michael A. Robinson has been presiding over this case since at least 2014.
Local 10 News was denied a request for a statement from Robinson regarding the case, but the court said judges can’t comment on pending cases.
While Whedon fights for her day in court, the defense has started an attack on her character.
Carpenter-Toye is accusing the victim of having a history of drug and alcohol abuse that leads to bizarre and violent behavior.
"Mr. Frank is presumed innocent under our Constitution," Carpenter-Toye said. "Every accused person has the right to a fair trial by a jury of his/her peers. Ms. Seto (Whedon's maiden name) will have her opportunity to testify before that jury, and they will reach what I believe will be a just verdict."
Whedon said she gets it if a defense strategy to attack her credibility, but that doesn’t chance the fact that she wants her day in court.
"You can’t pick a victim," Weinstein said. "A victim is picked by the defendant. Everybody comes into the courtroom with some baggage. We ask jurors to use your common sense. A victim isn’t always going to walk in clean and free and have no bad history that’s related to them. But you know what? If that prior had nothing to do with the incident that happened it should be kept out as irrelevant, the prosecution should be trying to protect them."
Weinstein said he knows the legal process can be "frustrating," for those on both sides of an issue.
"Ultimately what this system is all about is seeking justice for the defendant and the victim so the victim has every reason to be outraged about what is going on and the defendant, his lawyer is doing their job," he said.
Both parties are expected in court for a calendar call late April.
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