UPDATE: Franklin guilty on all child-abuse charges

Woman guilty on 28 charges for abuse

A Taylor County woman accused of abusing her adopted teenage daughter and locking her in a chicken coop was found guilty Monday on all 28 counts.

Franklin's lawyer, Kevin Bradley asked the judge if she could remain free until after Thanksgiving. The judge said no and explained that Franklin is now a convicted felon. 

Diana Franklin stood quietly in the courtroom while the jury read the verdict. She was found guilty on all 28 charges including cruelty to children, false imprisonment and aggravated assault. That's after she and her husband were accused of beating their adopted teenage daughter, starving her and locking her in a chicken coop. 
    
Both sides presented their closing arguments Monday. Starting with the prosecutor who compared the victim to Cinderella, but said this case was no fairy tale. Prosecuting attorney Wayne Jurnigan says the girl's testimony was solid since day one. "She was consistent. I believe the jury saw that. I think they took that into consideration, but we certainly have to also have to acknowledge that the journals, the defendant's own journals, were good evidence as well as to her own intentions," said Jurnigan. 

Defense attorney Kevin Bradley said the Franklins had a hard time struggling to discipline a troubled, hard-to-adopt child. But he said Franklin adopted her because she had more love to give. Bradley says the defense will file a motion for a new trial. He did not explain why. "Ms. Franklin has maintained her innocence and continues to do so. At this point, we are simply going to explore all of Ms. Franklin's post-judgment options," said Bradley. 

After the verdict was read, Taylor County Sheriff Jeff Watson handcuffed Franklin and escorted her out of the courtroom. "I've been in law enforcement 25 years, 11 years as a GBI agent. I've worked several homicide cases and child abuse cases, but this is, by far, one of the worst ones. It's at the top," said Watson. 

The jury deliberated about an hour and 50 minutes. Franklin's sentencing is scheduled for December 8th at the courthouse.
    

 

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UPDATE: 3 PM: The jury has found Diana Franklin guilty on all counts.

Her sentencing is scheduled for 11 a.m. on Dec. 8.

Franklin's lawyer asked that she remain free until after Thanksgiving, but the judge said no. She will remain in the Taylor County jail.

Sheriff Jeff Watson handcuffed Franklin after she handed her jewelry to family members.

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A Taylor County jury is now considering the child-abuse charges against Diana Franklin.

Attorneys delivered closing arguments in the case this morning in Taylor County Superior Court in Reynolds.

A prosecutor and a defense lawyer today gave the jury both sides of the child-abuse charges against Diana Franklin.

She and her husband are charged with abusing an adopted teenage daughter.

They're accused of starving her, beating her, using a dog's shock collar and and keeping her at times in a chicken coop.

In closing arguments today, District Attorney Julie Slater compared the girl to Cinderella, but said this was no fairy tale.

She called Franklin a narcissist who was caught red-handed. She referred to passages from Franklin's journal when she described the abuse and called the 15-year-old girl a demon, a brat, a thief and lazy.

Slater said Franklin's motive was to punish the girl because her husband was molesting her. Samuel Franklin is charged with child molestation but will be tried separately.

Her lawyer, Kevin Bradley, said the Franklins struggled to discipline a troubled... hard to adopt child.

But he said Diana Franklin took her in because "she had more love to give."

He said complaints about the girl's condition were exaggerated, and that she was healthy and well-fed. He said if the child was really neglected, there would be medical evidence of that.

The jury began deliberating around 1 p.m.

Franklin is charged with 19 counts of cruelty to children, 8 counts of false imprisonment and 1 count of aggravated assault.

She could face a sentence of more than 400 years in prison.

 


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