BLOOMSBURG — Anthony "Rocco" Franklin will spend the rest of his life in prison.
Centre County Senior Judge David Grine sentenced Franklin, 77, on Thursday to life in prison plus nearly 40 years for the July 2012 murder of Frank Spencer, 46, of Millville.
Franklin, 77, of Harrisburg, blew a kiss to the state prosecutor and lead investigator in the case and used several vulgar words when he spoke to Grine in the Columbia County Courthouse during the sentencing.
"This is bull ...," Franklin told the judge. "This is the biggest farce I have ever seen. Not by you, judge, but by them."
Franklin pointed toward Senior Deputy Attorney General Anthony Forray, Assistant Attorney General Phil McCarthy and Bloomsburg state police Cpl. Shawn Williams when he addressed the judge.
Franklin said he was sorry for using the foul language after the hearing.
Franklin told Grine he believed the state made an error in a search warrant and investigators never tested bloody shorts found on Spencer's body. He also said the media coverage of his case left a biased jury panel and the trial should have been moved.
During an interview on Monday with The Daily Item, Franklin said he had issues with his defense attorney, Brian Ulmer, of Lewisburg, and said he threw him out of meetings.
"I have respect for the warden here at the Columbia County Prison so I didn't do anything," Franklin said of his meetings with Ulmer. "Everything I told the guy he (Ulmer) went back and told the state guys. He (Ulmer) is exactly what an attorney shouldn't be."
On Thursday, Ulmer told Grine he plans on filing an appeal on Franklin's behalf.
Ulmer said he was displeased with the verdict in the case and that after a jury in October read the decision the crowd in the courtroom cheered, leaving a stigma that his client never had a fair shot.
Franklin continues to say he and his daughter, Maria Sanutti-Spencer, 53, of Selinsgrove, who was also convicted in 2015 of the slaying of her ex-husband, are innocent of the crime.
Police contend either Franklin or Sanutti-Spencer waited for Spencer to come home and either Franklin or Sanutti-Spencer shot Spencer from a sniper’s nest while one or the other shot Spencer at point-blank range leaving him for dead.
Franklin said Forray, McCarthy and Williams worked together to make himself and Sanutti-Spencer "fit the crime."
Franklin said he was not happy with Forray and that he (Franklin) would get the last laugh.
Forray, McCarthy and Williams spoke after the sentencing.
"After six and half years, justice has been done," Forray said. "The last six and half years have been a search for justice and holding people accountable for the crime. That has now been accomplished. This case was not a simple one. It became a full-time commitment and we are happy and hope this verdict and sentence give Frank Spencer's family some peace."
Williams said he is happy the case is over.
"Having Maria (Sanutti-Spencer) and Rocco (Franklin) behind bars for the crimes they committed is wonderful," Williams said. "We had a long road here and many people worked hard to make this happen. This became something we woke up to during the morning and it stayed with us until we went to bed. We were always five steps ahead and the trial and investigation showed that."
Franklin said he plans to file an appeal within the next 10 days.