Crime

Mother Of Slain Child Wants To Change Death Penalty Law

| by Michael Howard

An Oklahoma woman whose 19-month-old child was killed by her then-boyfriend is lobbying to expand her state's death penalty laws.

Roxanne Randall's infant son, Lincoln, died in July 2016 after suffering a skull fracture. Police later arrested Bert Franklin, a local dentist and Randall's boyfriend at the time, and charged him with first-degree murder, according to KFOR.

And while Oklahoma still uses capital punishment, when Franklin goes on trial in September he will be facing a maximum sentence of life in prison.

"In this case the DAs are doing … everything they possibly can in filing a first-degree murder in this case," legal expert Al Hoch told KFOR. "Unfortunately it's not the type of case that's a death penalty case."

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Under Oklahoma law, there are eight aggravating factors that warrant the death penalty. None of them apply specifically to Lincoln's death.

The only hope prosecutors have is to demonstrate that "the murder was especially heinous, atrocious or cruel." But Hoch said that will be difficult to prove.

"[T]he only way you're going to be able to show that is if the medical examiner can say that the child lingered for a while and died after maybe a couple of days, or something, of suffering," he said.

Randall has decided to take matters into her own hands. On Feb. 16 she wrote a petition on Change.org, demanding that the first-degree murder of a child be added to the list of aggravating factors for capital punishment.

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"[Eighteen] out of the 31 states that support capital punishment have a lone factor regarding child murder," she wrote. "They flat out do not stand for it! However, Oklahoma is not one of those. ... This [is] unacceptable!"

"Please help me change this and protect our children!" she continued. "It's too late for Lincoln, but maybe it will save another child. If you have children PLEASE educate yourself on this."

Randall's petition has been signed by more than 1,200 people. She told KWTV that she is also in contact with Oklahoma lawmakers.

Sources: KFOR, Change.org, KWTV / Photo credit: Roxanne Randall/Change.org

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