Bert Franklin, an Oklahoma dentist who prosecutors say was leading a double life — with a wife and family in Tulsa and a lover in Oklahoma City — faces first-degree murder charges in the violent death last year of his mistress’s 19-month-old baby. Jury selection in Franklin’s trial was scheduled to begin on Monday, but according to KFOR TV News in Oklahoma, prosecutors have delayed the trail because Franklin now faces a new charge.
From inside the Oklahoma County Jail where he has been locked up since July of last year, prosecutors now say, Franklin came up with $300 to hire a hit man who would kill the slain baby’s mom, Roxanne Randall, to prevent her from testifying against him at his trial.
The new charges also allege that Franklin somehow sweet-talked his wife and mother of his four children into giving him the $300 he supposedly needed to hire a fellow inmate and a former inmate to carry out the murder plot. But unfortunately for Franklin, the two were police informants already cooperating with authorities on other cases, according to the Oklahoman newspaper. When Franklin tried to enlist the inmates in his alleged murder-for-hire plot, investigators say, the informants quickly turned him in.
Police also gave the inmate informant a bugged cell phone, which Franklin used to call his wife and complain about his desperation over facing a life sentence, the newspaper reported.
“Franklin is extremely upset and makes many comments about how he is afraid he is going to prison for the rest of his life, how his lawyers have no evidence and he repeatedly expresses his despair,” a police investigator wrote, describing Franklin’s call to his wife on the recordable phone.
Police say that a home surveillance video shows Franklin calmly but brutally murdering little Lincoln Lewis, throwing the baby to the floor so that he lands on his head, and viciously kicking him. The child died the next day of injuries related to a skull fracture.
In addition to the murder charges, Franklin — who lived in a $1.3 million Tulsa home with his wife and kids — also faces a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Randall in March. According to the suit, Randall — who says that she was unaware that Franklin was married with his own family — was a dental patient of Franklin’s and became romantically involved with him in 2015.
Her lawsuit also accuses Franklin of physically abusing his own daughter and claims that the dentist’s church, Victory Christian Center, covered up the abuse. The church denies the accusations in Randall’s lawsuit.
Watch Randall tell her story, recounting her version of what she believes Franklin did to her child, in an interview with TV psychotherapist “Dr. Phil” McGraw, in the video below.
Prosecutors, who have now added a conspiracy to commit first-degree murder charge to Franklin’s already existing first-degree murder charge, say that Franklin began plotting to have Randall killed as early as August of this year — and the plot continued until this past Sunday, the day before his murder trial was set to begin, before it was exposed and Franklin was charged.
Franklin, prosecutors say, deceived his wife about his affair with Randall, and they now say that she was unaware of his scheme to have his former lover murdered before she could testify against him.
“Franklin was manipulating his wife throughout his incarceration at the county jail,” according to court documents. “Franklin has developed a pattern of getting her to put money on other inmates’ accounts in the county jail under the guise of spiritually related reasons, when in fact those moneys were used by Franklin for other purposes in the jail.”
Franklin’s defense attorney, Scott Adams, told the Oklahoman that Franklin denies plotting to kill his former lover, saying, “He didn’t want anything bad to happen to Ms. Randall.”
Franklin also denies that he murdered 19-month-old Lincoln Lewis.