Grieving Oklahoma Mother Of A Murdered Baby Doesn't Feel Safe
An Oklahoma dentist has been put away for life, yet he's managed to keep his lone survivor looking over her shoulder.
Bert Franklin was found guilty of first-degree murder in the 2016 death of his girlfriend's 19-month-old son, Lincoln Lewis.
Ahead of trial, Franklin was caught in a murder-for-hire plot to kill the child's mother. He hd managed to hire a hitman from his jail cell. However, investigators successfully intervened before any harm was done to his intended target, Roxanne Randall.
"He's never expressed any remorse," Roxanne Randall explained that she was dating Franklin for about a year before her son's murder.
In hindsight, Randall believes it was Franklin's charm that kept her from seeing his dark side, a violent one.
She said Franklin falsely led her to believe that he was separated from his wife during their lengthy divorce. To this day, she doesn't understand what motivated him to kill Lincoln.
"Lincoln wasn't crying, we weren't fighting, there were not drugs or alcohol, or any of these triggers," Randall said. "Lincoln was just sitting there being the best boy."
Randall's in-home security camera captured some of the attack.
"You see Bert look at his phone and then he just kicks him [Lincoln] and then walks over, and gets pizza, eats the pizza and then throws him to the ground," Randall said as she described the video without watching it.
She has it memorized, the video which haunts her.
That paired with his jailhouse attempt to have her killed, Randall fears she will never be safe. She pleaded with the court to send Franklin to a maximum security facility.
"With all of these things he did while incarcerated, it kind of led me to believe that would be a one-way ticket to a maximum security facility," said Randall.
Instead, Franklin is living out his days at James Crabtree Correctional, a medium security facility.
"I thought for sure he would be under lock and key because given the chance with the outside world, he has proven that he will manipulate, murder, and do anything. He is a danger to me," she said as she was crying.
"She is very frightened of this man and she has every right to be," Jessica Brown with the Department of Corrections said.
Brown said Franklin was assessed as all inmates are, by the severity of the crime, prior violence in prison, escape history, criminal history, age, and medium isn't a mistake.
"He actually qualified for minimum but because of the severity of his crimes, we put him in medium," Brown said.
If Franklin were in maximum security, every aspect of his day would be managed by correctional officers. Medium security inmates have more yard time and jobs.
"Most of our very violent criminals go to medium. The maximum is reserved for the violent offenders that are management problems," said Brown.
Still, Randall worries her ex's "management problem" won't be recognized until it's too late.
"As long as he is alive, I don't think I will be safe," said Randall.
She is sharing Lincoln's story with the hope of helping others. Randall said she has since learned the more obscure warning signs for domestic violence.