Jurors stumped on death penalty decision in teen slaying



DOUGLAS COUNTY, Ga. - Jurors deliberating on whether a man should get the death penalty in the beating death of a Douglas County teen say they cannot decide.

Prosecutors said four men beat Bobby Tillman to death at a house party in 2010. Tracen Franklin is the only one who decided to take his case to trial.

After two full days, plus a few hours of deciding on Franklin's fate, jurors sent a note to a Douglas County courtroom at 10:30 a.m., said Channel 2's Jeff Dore.

Dore obtained a copy of the letter, which stated, "We the jury regret to inform the court that we cannot come to a unanimous decision for punishment for Mr. Franklin. Due to the efforts to respect the individual moral beliefs, we did not however decide on the aggravating circumstances in this issue. We will also like to add that we are at a 10-2 vote on the decision but with mounting frustrations, we would like to turn to the court for guidance on making a decision."

If they remain deadlocked, that means the death penalty is out of the question and the defense wants deliberations stopped immediately.

This week jurors watched police interrogation video of Franklin. After denying he touched Tillman, suddenly Franklin admitted to kicking Tilman maybe once in the leg, the video showed. But he did not admit to the stomping that witnesses saw him do, Dore said.



When police asked why he struck Tillman, Franklin explained that he had no reason to hit him.

"He didn't do nothing. He didn't do nothing," Franklin said.

"I couldn’t even go to sleep. Cause I heard (Tillman) was on life support. I knew what that meant and I just prayed," added Franklin.

As jurors remain stumped on their decision for the death penalty, Judge William McClain asks them to keep trying to make a decision.

Watch live updates on Channel 2 Action News starting at 4 and get updates on WSBTV.com