Freed: Brian Franklin flanked by family after he was exonerated of rape charges , Friday
A former Fort Worth police officer who served 21 years of a life sentence for raping a friend’s 13-year-old daughter was acquitted of the crime by a jury on Friday.
Brian Franklin, 56, who was freed in May after his accuser admitted that she lied when she didn’t acknowledge a previous sex assault, was sentenced to life in prison in 1995 after being convicted of raping the girl a year prior.
A relieved Franklin told KDFW-TV after the court verdict on Friday: ‘I knew it was going to come,’ Franklin said.
‘I wasn’t surprised.’
Life destroyed, career gone, still with full faith that the truth will be exposed Franklin (backing camera) hugs a well-wisher after the not guilty verdict on Friday – 21 years later.
Last May, he was released on $10,000 bail by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals after it ruled that he did not receive a fair trial, but Tarrant County prosecutors retried the 56-year-old man for assaulting the girl in her father’s backyard in 1994.
Franklin’s guilt was called into question when his accuser testified two years ago that she lied in part of her testimony, but the woman, now in her 30s, is standing by her accusation that Franklin raped her.
35-year-old Brian Franklin ‘s 1995 mug shot (left) and Brian Franklin (center) acquitted at 56 on Friday after spending 21 years as an inmate (right)
The former police officer was convicted for raping a 13-year-old girl in 1995 and sentenced to life in prison.
Elated: Brian Franklin (back row center with his fist in the air) celebrate the acquittal with his family in the courtroom. His attorney Dick DeGuerin, is standing in the front row (center)
The court ruled that the perjured testimony also led others to give false testimony at the trial.
The teenage accuser testified in 1995 that she had never had sex before accusing Franklin of raping her. But she later told authorities that her stepfather had sexually assaulted her for years, including during Franklin’s trial, and that she had been too scared to admit that with the predator ever-present.
Franklin has maintained his innocence all through the ordeal. However, because Tarrant County prosecutors had no DNA evidence tying Franklin to the crime, they relied solely on the girl’s testimony, for their case, arguing the victim was first violated by Franklin.
In 2000, a state district judge said that the prosecution’s case hinged on the girl’s statement that she had not had sexual contact before, meaning that genital injuries would have had to result from a rape.
Judge Wayne Salvant noted however, that in a later statement in a different investigation, the girl said her stepfather had sexual contact with her since she was 6.
The alleged victim’s stepbrother testified for the defense. He said he was too afraid to testify in the first trial but came forward about 10 years ago. John Peterson said his sister confided in him days after the alleged assault and said that she made it all up.
He testified on Franklin’s behalf this week and was happy to help clear Franklin’s name.
“I can’t imagine what he’s been through. It’s scary,” Peterson said. “It’s scary that someone can just take somebody’s word, and he can be locked up like that.”
Another defense witness, Darren McMunn, testified that the girl’s mother told him her daughter was lying.
“If somebody knows something, say something,” said McMunn.
“If you know of an injustice, come forward.”
The long journey back: Franklin in court in August 2014
The stepfather pleaded guilty to injury of a child and received 10 years of probation. He has since died.
Franklin was convicted of aggravated sexual assault and sentenced to life imprisonment. He was eligible for parole in 2025.
After the acquittal, his attorney, Dick DeGuerin, wants the charge against his client expunged from the record and plans to file a declaration of innocence. He also intends to sue for damages.
Franklin said he’s angry about what happened to him but relieved by the outcome of his new trial.
“I’m not the first and I probably won’t be the last,” he said. “When the system makes mistakes, they need to admit it.”