Franklin jury weighs defendant's interview in Tillman case

6:46 PM, Sep 20, 2012   |    comments
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DOUGLASVILLE, Ga. -- Jurors in the Tracen Franklin murder case watched, for the second time, a lengthy interview the now-convicted murderer gave to investigators shortly after the killing of 18 year old Bobby Tillman.

Jurors spent all day Wednesday deliberating Franklin's sentence.  They are deciding whether to send Franklin to Georgia's death row, or whether to give him a life sentence - either with or without parole.

Thursday morning, jurors asked Judge William McClain to allow them to view a videotaped interview Franklin gave to a sheriff's investigator.  In the interview, Franklin initially denies any involvement in the beating that killed Tillman.  Later, Franklin changes his story and admits punching and kicking Tillman.

Franklin, now 20, was one of four teenagers who attacked Tillman at random during a raucous house party in Douglasville in November 2010.  

The other three codefendants have agreed to plead guilty in the case; none faces the death penalty.

Wednesday, jurors sent McClain a note saying they were "making progress" in the sentencing phase of their deliberations. The request Thursday indicates that one or more jurors needs clarification on what Franklin said during the interview in which he implicated himself in the killing.  Franklin never testified in the trial.

Jurors spent Thursday morning in the jury box watching the interview, with Franklin seated at the defense table, and spectators that included members of Franklin and Tillman's family.

Georgia law requires jurors in a death penalty trial to deliver a sentencing verdict.  

If the jury cannot reach a unanimous verdict, then there can be no death penalty sentence. Absent a jury decision, the judge would then decide the sentence, including whether to allow for the possibility of parole.

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