A former Fort Worth police officer serving life in prison for rape is now waiting to learn if he'll get a new trial.
A woman admits she lied in part of her testimony against the officer, who was convicted of raping her when she was 13, but she reaffirmed that the officer was still guilty of the attack.
The woman testified Thursday at a hearing ordered by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, which opened the door this year to reconsidering the case of the officer, Brian Franklin.
The court gave Franklin a new chance to argue that his conviction and life sentence should be overturned. Prosecutors stood by the testimony of the accuser, now 33.
Sitting in a wheelchair, the woman said Thursday that she didn't disclose that her stepfather was raping her because she was scared of him.
Franklin's lawyers argued that omission would have drastically changed the case against him.
“The truth of the matter is, the jury heard false testimony, and one of the jurors has already told us that if he'd known what the truth was about this girl's history, the verdict would've been different,” said defense attorney Dick Deguerin.
The case against Franklin didn't have forensic evidence tying him to the alleged rape. Instead, it rested entirely on the testimony of the accuser.
In several weeks, the judge will issue his recommendation in the case and the state Court of Criminal Appeals will ultimately decide.
Franklin got to visit with his family for a few minutes in the courtroom on Thursday.
At the time of the initial trial, according to a 1995 newspaper article, his younger brother, Paul Franklin, confronted the victim in court, telling her, "The truth will be told."
On Thursday, Paul expressed compassion for her, but firm support for his brother.
"She's had it very rough,” said Paul. “At the same time, we have always believed Brian and his innocence, as he has proclaimed his innocence since day one."
Prosecutors urge that the conviction should stand.
“The crucial testimony was that Mr. Franklin had sexually assaulted this young girl, and the fact that her stepfather had also been doing so and continued to do so in no way relieved him of any responsibility for the sexual assault that we contend he committed,” said prosecutor Jack Strickland.
Besides the possibility of a new trial, the court could decide Franklin's sentence should be reduced, which would mean a new punishment phase.
It could also simply allow the conviction to stand.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
KDFW FOX 4 400 N. Griffin Street Dallas, Texas 75202
Main Station Directory: (214) 720-4444 News Fax: (214) 720-3263 or (214) 720-3333