Man sentenced to life without parole in teen's beating death

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DOUGLAS COUNTY, Ga. - A man found guilty of stomping a Douglas County teenager to death has been sentenced to life without parole.

On Wednesday, Tracen Franklin was found guilty of felony murder and malice murder. He could have faced the death penalty, but jurors did not reach a unanimous decision on the matter.

The victim’s mother testified before the sentencing came down Friday, asking the judge not to give Franklin a chance at release. She said she was thankful for the judge’s decision.

“Everyone was just so wonderful to us and treated Bobby like he was a person, that he was a human. He wasn’t a deceased. He wasn’t just a victim, that he was someone that deserved to be here, and that his life was snatched from him viciously, savagely and for nothing,” the victim’s mother, Monique Rivarde, said.

Franklin took part in the savage beating of Bobby Tillman outside a Douglas County home in November 2010. Three other young men were also charged. One has already pleaded guilty; the other two have announced their intentions to plead guilty.

Prosecutors said what was supposed to have been a small gathering of high school friends grew until it became too big to control. Adult chaperones called 911 twice trying to get help breaking it up.

During the party, several girls started fighting. According to Assistant District Attorney Bonnie Smith, one of the girls hit Franklin's friend, Emmanuel Boykin.

Boykin, Smith said, didn't want to retaliate against a girl, so he, Franklin and the other two decided to "pop" the first male they spotted. That male, said Smith, was Tillman.

Tillman was later pronounced dead at the hospital. The medical examiner determined the beating tore a hole in his heart.

Defense attorneys argued for involuntary manslaughter charges, saying no one intended for Tillman to die.

“An evil intention to take the life of another human being, that's simply not here,” defense attorney Bruce Harvey said.

But prosecutor Brian Fortner said, "It's evil to attack someone and beat them and punch them and kick them without any reason whatsoever."

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