Man who dismembered girlfriend denied appeal

12:24 PM, Jan 21, 2014   |    comments
(Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
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NEWTON COUNTY, Ga. -- The Supreme Court of Georgia has denied an appeal from a man convicted of murdering and dismembering his girlfriend.

Franklin Benson was sentenced to life plus 11 years in prison for killing 49-year-old Leslyan Williams and scattering her remains in a secluded part of Newton County.

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Benson and Williams were a couple and spent much of their time at her Decatur home. On Oct. 28, 2007, they got into a fight over money Benson owed Williams. Later that evening, someone attempted to transfer $7,500 from Williams' bank account into Benson's overdrawn account.

Two days later, a Newton County woman called police after her dogs found a human foot and brought it to her house. Investigators later discovered more body parts nearby and determined they belonged to Williams.

Police tracked down Benson, who told conflicting stories about his girlfriend's disappearance. He was arrested on Nov. 11, 2007; in October 2009, he was tried and convicted of murder, removing body parts and concealing a death.

Benson appealed to the state's high court, saying his constitutional rights were violated when he was denied effective counsel during his trial. He also said the court erred in closing the courtroom during jury selection.

A Supreme Court of Georgia justice wrote in Tuesday's opinion that Benson's claims are "without merit" or "procedurally barred." The appeal was rejected.

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