Judge Sentences Woman To 190 Years For Torturing Adopted Daughter

| by Nik Bonopartis
Diana Franklin in courtDiana Franklin in court

A Georgia woman who beat her adopted daughter with a belt, kept her confined in a chicken coop without food, and shocked her with an electronic dog collar was sentenced to 190 years in prison on Dec. 8.

Diana Franklin compared her actions to the policies for inmates at Taylor County Jail, where she has been held since Nov. 23, when a jury convicted her on 19 counts of child cruelty, eight counts of false imprisonment, and an assault charge, The Macon Telegraph reports.

"Rules must be obeyed regardless how unjust they are thought to be," Franklin, citing the jail-policy handbook, said in court. "You will be expected to obey orders immediately without any insolence or resistance whatsoever."

"This is a prime example of a healthy parent-child relationship," she said.

“It’s utterly absurd what she just said to this court,” Assistant District Attorney Wayne Jernigan said.

The Butler, Georgia, woman adopted the victim in 2007 and tortured her for five years, until an anonymous caller tipped off social workers, who found the young girl padlocked in a garage on May 25, 2012.

But imprisonment in the garage was the least of the victim's ordeals, according to Franklin's own journal, in which she kept a meticulous account of the torture inflicted upon her adopted daughter, according to prosecutors who used the journal as evidence in the trial.

Franklin, who called her adopted daughter her "slave," kept the victim confined, sometimes without food or clothing, in a chicken coop and an outhouse. She beat the naked girl with a belt buckle, tied her to a tree from the neck like a dog, and forced her to wear a remote-controlled electronic dog collar.

In another incident, Franklin put a loaded gun to the victim's head after she said she was going to run away, WLTZ reported. When Franklin wanted her adopted daughter to do manual labor, she would prompt the victim with electric shocks.

"This was the worst case of abuse that I’ve ever investigated in which the child survived," Leigh Brooks, a child-abuse investigator, told the judge, according to The Macon Telegraph.

The victim was not identified in media reports to protect her identity. She's now an 18-year-old high school senior, and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, experiencing panic attacks, nightmares and flashbacks.

“I don’t hate you anymore, and in fact, I forgive you for everything you’ve done," the victim told Franklin at the sentencing hearing.

"I forgive you and do not hate you, but you have to pay for what you did to me,” she added.

After the sentencing, Taylor County Sheriff Jeff Watson said his department failed the victim, never checking up on her welfare over the five years she was tortured.

“I feel like we let her down,” Watson said. "Nobody called; nobody came. She sat out there night after night, crying for help."

“I feel that, all in all, we in this community sort of let this child down, and this was our way of making it right,” he added.

Sources: The Macon Telegraph (2), WLTZ / Photo credit: KOBI