Mother of murdered infant upset accused killer won’t face death penalty

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OKLAHOMA - The mother of an infant who was murdered in July of 2016 is trying to change Oklahoma’s death penalty law.

Lincoln Lewis was just 19-months-old when he died.

Doctors said he had a skull fracture and brain bleed that were consistent with abuse.

His mother’s now former boyfriend Bert Franklin, a well-known Tulsa dentist, is charged with first-degree murder.

Franklin will face a jury in September, but will not be facing the ultimate punishment, death.

"In this case the DAs are doing, sounds like everything they possibly can in filing a first-degree murder in this case.

Unfortunately it's not the type of case that's a death penalty case," Legal Analyst Al Hoch said.

Hoch said that's because it does not meet one of the eight aggravating circumstances.

He said he only way to possibly seek the death penalty in this case would be through No. 4, which says the state would have to prove “the murder was especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel."

"Which means there's a conscious pain and suffering and the only way you're going to be able to show that is if the medical examiner can say that the child lingered for a while and died after maybe a couple of days, or something, of suffering," Hoch said.

Since that cannot be proven beyond reasonable doubt the death penalty is off the table.

Outraged, Lincoln’s mother started a petition.

Her goal is to try and make child murder a factor, like in other states.

The petition has picked up traction with more than 1,200 signatures.

If the legislature were to add child murder to the list, Hoch said it could be deemed unconstitutional.

"What happens in the traffic accident that somebody runs a stop sign, hits the car and the child dies in a car wreck? It's an issue of is that also a death penalty case, and you run into a major equal protection problem," Hoch said.

Despite any opposition Lincoln’s mother feels strongly for her cause and said she will keep fighting to see justice for her baby boy.