Tracen Franklin death penalty jury reports 10-2 deadlock in Bobby Tillman case

11:57 AM, Sep 21, 2012   |    comments
Tracen Franklin
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DOUGLASVILLE, Ga. -- Jurors deciding the verdict in a death penalty case told the judge they are deadlocked 10-2 Friday morning. The judge has ordered them to keep deliberating.

The jurors are deciding whether to send 20-year-old Tracen Franklin to Georgia's death row. The same jury convicted Franklin last week for the murder of 18-year-old Bobby Tillman. Franklin was one of four teens accused of beating Tillman to death during a house party in Douglasville in November 2010.

The jury began deliberating late Tuesday, and talked for roughly 11 hours.

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In a note sent to Superior Court Judge William McClain, the jury foreman cited "mounting frustration" and said the jury was "unable to come to a unanimous decision ... due to the effort to respect individual decisions."

McClain called the jury into the courtroom to read what he called a "modified Allen charge" to the jury.  The Allen charge is frequently read to deadlocked juries deciding verdicts; it's an admonishment that the jury has a "duty" to reach a decision.

However, in this case, the jury has to option to not decide; if the jury cannot decide, it removes the death penalty as an option.  The judge in the case would decide between a sentence of life with the possibility of parole, or life without parole.

Over the objections of defense attorney Bruce Harvey, McClain told jurors they have an "obligation" to reach a decision "if you can."  He said he would return them to the jury room "for a reasonable time" to try to make a decision.

"If you can't, let me know," McClain told the jury.



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