OKLAHOMA CITY - Jury selection in the Bert Franklin murder trial was supposed to start Monday morning.
Instead, prosecutors dropped a bombshell - asking for a continuance because they were charging Franklin with another very serious crime.
They filed a charge of conspiracy to commit murder, alleging Franklin was plotting the murder of his little victim’s mother from inside the Oklahoma County Jail where he’s being held without bond.
Franklin, a Tulsa dentist, was dating the woman in Oklahoma City in July of 2016 when 19 month old Lincoln Lewis was killed.
Doctors said he had a skull fracture and brain bleed that were consistent with abuse.
Prosecutors showed a home surveillance video at Franklin’s preliminary hearing.
They said it showed Franklin slamming the baby to the ground and repeatedly kicking him.
Much of that action was hard to tell from the angle of the camera.
But, just after – prosecutors said the video shows Franklin holding the limp baby in his arms as he goes into the kitchen to get a piece of pizza.
Now – prosecutors allege Franklin paid another inmate in the county jail to murder Lewis’ mother.
"Obviously, the allegations are salacious as hell and they bother me deeply," said Franklin’s attorney, Scott Adams.
Adams had no idea about the new charge until he showed up to court Monday morning to begin jury selection in the murder trial.
"Stunned. Literally stunned. Again, I talked to my client. He denies he did any of it. Swears up and down that he was being threatened in the jail and he didn't have anything to do with wanting to get Ms. Randall killed," Adams said.
According to court documents, a confidential informant inside the jail told an investigator with the district attorney’s office “Franklin approached him regarding the possibility of killing a witness in the murder case against Franklin.”
Prosecutors allege Franklin had his wife transfer $300 into another inmate’s account for this purpose.
And, then just one day before his trial was set to begin, they said he laid out the details in a phone call recorded at the jail.
Court documents said “Franklin provides the locations of security cameras around her home, including a camera on the side of the house. Franklin discusses the presence of a large dog…”
His attorney said this leaves him with a lot of questions about the confidential informants.
"Why were these particular people in his jail cell? How did they get there? What type of benefits were they getting from the government to make these allegations?" Adams said.
And, he said it might not mean very much Franklin put money in another inmate’s account.
"These scams happen all the time with inmates and they're getting threatened, if you don't put money on my book, I'm going to beat you up. If you don't put money on my books, I'm going to threaten your family," Adams said.
Adams said he has not yet listened to the recorded phone call.
The prosecution has indicated they would like to try the two charges together.
Franklin is expected to be arraigned Tuesday on the new charge of conspiracy to commit murder.