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Judge will resentence Georgia woman who locked her adopted daughter in chicken coop

Recognizing signs of physical child abuse

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statistics show that more than 700,000 children are referred to child protective agencies as a result of abuse or neglect in the U.S. each year.
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U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statistics show that more than 700,000 children are referred to child protective agencies as a result of abuse or neglect in the U.S. each year.

A Taylor County woman convicted of keeping her adopted teenage daughter in a chicken coop and other confined spaces will have to be resentenced, an appeals court decided Monday.

The Georgia Court of Appeals upheld the conviction of Diana Franklin. She was sentenced to 190 years in prison on 19 counts of cruelty to children, eight counts of false imprisonment and one count of aggravated assault in December 2015 for locking her daughter away.

However, the court ruled that her eight false imprisonment convictions should have merged into her cruelty to children convictions for sentencing.

Peter Hoffman, a Senior Assistant District Attorney with the Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit, said that Franklin’s prison sentence could be dropped to 110 years.

“If I’m calculating it right, it would knock 80 years off her sentence,” he said. “She should be resentenced to 110 years.”

The case will be remanded to the trial court in Taylor County, where Superior Court Judge Bobby Peters will have to resentence Franklin. A resentencing date has not been set.

She and her husband, Samuel Franklin Jr. were arrested in July 2012 following a search of their home and a probe into child abuse allegations. Their arrests received international attention.

Samuel Franklin’s original case is still pending in Taylor County Superior Court. No hearings are currently scheduled in his case, a court clerk employee said Tuesday.

During her 2015 trial, Diana Franklin was accused of beating the naked child with a belt buckle, tying her to a tree by the neck like a dog and using remote-controlled electric collars meant for dog training on the child. The child was also allegedly left in various outbuildings without food and sometimes without clothing.

Nick Wooten is the Southern Trends and Culture reporter for McClatchy’s South region. He is based in Columbus, Georgia at the Ledger-Enquirer but his work also appears in The (Macon) Telegraph and The Sun Herald in Biloxi.Before joining McClatchy, he worked for The (Shreveport La.) Times covering city government and investigations. He is a graduate of Mercer University in Macon, Georgia.
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