Married Dentist Murdered Girlfriend's Toddler — Then Tried to Hire Someone to Kill Victim's Mom
Bert Franklin will learn his fate on Oct. 19, when he is scheduled for sentencing on convictions of first-degree murder and first-degree soliciting murder
A 35-year-old Oklahoma dentist has been convicted of first-degree murder two years after his arrest for the killing of his girlfriend’s 19-month-old son, PEOPLE confirms.
Prosecutors say Bert Franklin, of Tulsa, will learn his fate on Oct. 19, when he is scheduled for sentencing.
The same jurors who returned last week’s guilty verdict have recommended Franklin spend the rest of his life in prison.
His victim, Lincoln Lewis, was the son of Roxanne Randall, with whom Franklin was having an affair at the time. Franklin was then married and has four children.
He was also found guilty of first-degree soliciting murder, according to prosecutors, who said he tried hiring someone from jail to kill Randall as his trial approached.
He was arrested soon after Lincoln’s death on July 18, 2016, and pleaded not guilty. Two days earlier, he dropped the toddler on his head and then kicked him while at Randall’s home in Oklahoma City, leaving him with a skull fracture and brain bleeding, according to authorities.
Part of the abuse was captured by a home surveillance camera, though the footage did not show the entire altercation. Franklin’s defense maintained throughout his trial that he was kicking a dog and further disputed the argument that he had tried to arrange Randall’s death.
After kicking the boy, Franklin can be seen in the footage cradling Lincoln, who appears limp, and eating a slice of pizza.
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Randall was home but told investigators she was upstairs.
She said she ran downstairs when she heard a loud thud, but Franklin allegedly told her he was throwing a ball to the dog and her son was fast asleep.
After the verdict, Oklahoma County Assistant District Attorney Gayland Gieger spoke to reporters about the two-week trial.
“The evidence, in our opinion was overwhelming of his guilt,” Gieger said. “It’s hard to fathom a man who could do what he did to this little baby and then coldly, calculatedly plan to solicit the murder of this child’s mother.”
In a statement to local TV station KFOR, Lincoln’s mom described Franklin as an “abuser … hiding in plain sight.”
Of her son, she said, “Although he isn’t physically here, [my] love will never diminish; Lincoln’s death was a nightmare I face every day. But He is still very much a part of our family. I wholeheartedly believe that he would still be here today if the people that had knowledge of Bert Franklin’s abusive behaviors would have reported him.
“This should serve as a reminder that abusers aren’t always easily identifiable. They often hide among us as successful people and loving fathers.”
Franklin’s attorney did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.