FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) - A man who would have been on probation
for his drug conviction will now have to spend six months in jail -
all because he fled before hearing a jury's sentencing verdict.
To make matters worse, James Carroll Franklin was captured after
a high-speed chase through three counties, for which he faces more
charges that could bring additional jail time.
Franklin, 47, of Azle, apparently panicked Wednesday after
hearing prosecutors in the Wise County courtroom urge jurors to
sentence him to life in prison, said his attorney, Jim Shaw.
Franklin, who was allowed to remain free after being convicted
of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, asked
Shaw if he would be able to see his daughter and take care of
personal business. Shaw said he told Franklin probably not.
But the attorney said he also explained to Franklin that he
likely would get probation and that a sentence of less than 10
years would allow him to go free on an appeal bond within 24 hours.
Franklin then went to the restroom, and less than five minutes
later jurors returned with their verdict: a $1,000 fine and six
years in prison, which they recommended be probated, Shaw said.
When Franklin couldn't be located, despite text messages from
family members, Wise County deputies broadcast a radio message to
stop him, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported Thursday.
Franklin then led authorities on a high-speed chase through Wise
and Parker counties before he was captured in Tarrant County by
officers who rammed his car and used a stun gun on him when he
resisted arrest, Shaw said.
Shaw said his client realized his mistake Thursday morning when
the judge sentenced him to 180 days in jail for violating terms of
his 10-year probation. Franklin also faces a felony charge of
evading arrest in a motor vehicle, his attorney said. The charge is
punishable by 180 days to 2 years in jail.
"He told me, 'I fouled up, didn't I?" Shaw said. "I said,
`Yea, legally you probably did."
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)