Accident Results In Abuse Plea


A man whose daughter died in July during a four-wheeling trip west of town pleaded guilty Monday to child abuse.

Mark Frantzke, 44, entered a change of plea in Gila County Superior Court. A judge will sentence him April 1 at 10 a.m. in a Payson courtroom.

Frantzke’s daughter, Devin Grace Frantzke, 14, and best friend, Jeff Johnston, 55, both of Payson, died when they were thrown from a Jeep Wrangler in the early hours of July 15 off Doll Baby Ranch Road.

Seven people were in the Jeep at the time it rolled. The group was reportedly driving on a winding, wet section of dirt road.

Devin and Johnston were killed in the crash. Frantzke walked away with minor scratches.

Authorities said the Jeep’s driver, Sharrod Stone, 44, was driving recklessly, speeding on the road while intoxicated.

A grand jury last year indicted Stone on 13 charges, including manslaughter, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, endangerment and DUI.

Stone is set to face trial May 22 at 9 a.m. in Globe. Frantzke’s attorney, Barry Standifird, had no comment on the case.


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