A Georgia mother who homeschooled her adopted daughter has been found guilty on 28 counts of child abuse and could now face a sentence of up to 480 years in prison.
Diana Franklin was convicted for horrific abuse which included withholding water from her daughter and putting a gun to the girl’s head.
According to court documents and testimony during the trial in Butler, Georgia, the abused girl, now a teenager, said that Frankin placed her in isolation shortly after she brought her into the home. She was also harshly punished if she had a temper tantrum or hoarded any kind of food.
The teen also testified that on one occasion Franklin placed a loaded pistol to her head for threatening to run away. Franklin also warned her that she would bury her body on the family’s 73 acres of land outside of Butler and no one would ever find her body. The teen recalled:
“I was scared. I knew she was capable of anything.”
In a journal she kept, Franklin said of that day that God had stopped her from doing something “stupid.”
Additionally, the girl told the jury that Franklin would tie her to a tree and even punished her with the use of a shock collar such as is sometimes used on dogs. Franklin told her she had the right to treat her like a dog because the girl acted like one.
And, at times, the teen maintained, Franklin would make her lie on her stomach, naked, for severe beatings with the strap or buckle of a belt.
As if this wasn’t bad enough, the girl also said Franklin once locked her in a chicken coop for 72 hours without food or water. In one case, the teen said she was confined to a closet with only a Bible, bread, and water. Her mother also locked her in a shipping container, a cinder block garage. and an outhouse, often with no clothing or food.
Franklin’s attorney, Kevin Bradley, tried to allege that the girl, who is now 18, was simply trying to profit from a book deal, saying:
“She continues to revel in the attention.”
This led the prosecutor, Wayne Jernigan, to retort:
“With all the hell she went through, she ought to write 10 books.”
The jury concurred with Jernigan, convicting her on all 28 counts against her. Those included 19 counts of first-degree cruelty to children and eight counts of false imprisonment. She was also found guilty on a count of aggravated assault.
Sentencing is set for December 8.