Houseguest pleads guilty of crimes against girl, 6

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Lawrenceburg man who pled guilty to a charge of aggravated sexual battery was sentenced to nine years in prison last week.

J. T. Franklin, 45, was living with his six-year-old victim's family in Lewisburg during December 2010 when the offence occurred.

"I am very sorry for what happened and wish that it hadn't happened," Franklin told Charles Brannan of the Board of Probation and Parole who prepared his pre-sentence report.

Brannan got a victim impact statement from the child's father, who told him the little girl now has behavior problems.

"She doesn't understand why someone she loved would hurt her the way (Franklin) did," the father told Brannan.

"I think he should get the most time in jail allowed for this crime," the father continued.

Assistant District Attorney Eddie Barnard agreed with him, asking Circuit Court Judge Robert Crigler give Franklin "the most sentence you legally can."

Defending him, Michael Collins of the Public Defender's Office pointed out that Franklin had cooperated with police, and has no criminal record. Collins asked for an eight-and-a-half year sentence.

Crigler decided on a sentence nine years, of which 100 percent must be served behind bars. After release, Franklin will have community supervision for life, and be listed on the sex offender registry.

Franklin had been out on bond, but Crigler denied his request for time to report, and ordered Franklin to start serving his sentence immediately.

* In other cases before Crigler on Sept. 21, Thomas Beard, 25, of Poarch Hollow Road, pled guilty to abuse/neglect of a child under six, and was sentenced to two years in prison, of which he must serve at least 30 percent before being eligible for parole. Beard was ordered to report to start serving his time on Oct. 5.

According to documents in the case file, the baby Beard is accused of harming, his daughter, was taken to Maury Regional Medical Center because she had a rash, and the emergency room doctor noticed "non-accidental injuries," such as bruises on her face and body.

According to the pre-sentence report by Crystal Gray, Beard admitted, "I get frustrated and irritated when she won't stop crying."

Crigler denied a request for alternative sentencing for Beard, stating, "Confinement is needed so as not to depreciate the seriousness of the offence."

* Also on Sept. 21, Wendy Lynn Hull, 37, of Rogers Road, pled guilty to a number of charges relating to the sale and delivery of crack cocaine. She received an effective sentence of seven years, of which she must serve at least 30 percent before being eligible for parole. Crigler also imposed statutory fines totaling $14,000.

* Also sentenced last week was Neil Vader, 33, of Finley Beech Road, who had a jury trial in August. He was charged with driving after being declared a Habitual Motor Vehicle Offender, 4th offence driving under the influence, violation of the implied consent law, and driving on a revoked license, and the jury found him guilty as charged on all counts. The jury also imposed the maximum possible fines.

Crystal Gray of the Board of Probation and Parole prepared Vader's pre-sentence report, and testified that he told her he's innocent, and that the other man was driving.

He told her, "My past offences, I was guilty. In this case, I'm truly innocent."

Noting Vader's long string of prior convictions, Crigler said, " Confinement has not provided a deterrent." He sentenced Vader to one year and nine months on the HMVO, one year and nine months on the DUI, and, concurrently, 11 months 29 days on the implied consent. The driving on revoked charge was merged with the HMVO. Vader must serve at least the mandatory 150 days, but he has 45 days jail credit.