TULSA, Okla. – They called him a monster; a wealthy Tulsa dentist the state labeled a “master manipulator” when they charged him with the first degree murder of a young child.
Dr. Bert Franklin was entangled in a love affair with a patient, snared by a clip of home surveillance footage.
The evidence against him included a video clip they called a smoking gun; evidence of abuse.
“He is innocent of these charges,” said Dr. Franklin’s defense attorney Scott Adams. “He’s always said he’s innocent of these charges, and I believe him.”
The jury did not.
Dr. Bert Franklin got two life sentences with no possibility for parole.
“It’s hard to fathom a man who could do what this man did to this little baby, and then coldly and calculatedly plan to solicit the murder of this child’s mother,” said lead prosecutor Gayland Geiger.
Meanwhile, Shavonne Franklin sat through the entire trial and found something else: reasonable doubt.
She does not believe the video footage shows her husband hurting a child.
She does not believe she fell in love with a cold-blooded killer.
“I know beyond a shadow of a doubt Bert didn’t do that,” Shavonne Franklin said. “Bert didn’t hurt him. He was at the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Bert and Shavonne met at Oral Roberts University.
They married right after college and started a family.
“I would fall in love with him all over again each time we would have a baby,” Shavonne remembers. “He was almost more excited than I was. Every time I found out I was pregnant he was just ecstatic.”
Theirs was a picture perfect family, shattered the day his secrets spilled out.
Dr. Bert Franklin’s double life came undone before his very eyes.
“Everything just kind of came out and came unraveled,” Shavonne said. “I don’t even remember much now about that time.”
The summer of 2016, Oklahoma City Police started investigating the death of 19-month-old Lincoln Lewis.
Lewis was the son of Bert’s secret girlfriend.
Authorities zeroed in on her lover, Bert Franklin.
At the time, Shavonne and her family had no idea about any of it.
She had no idea the husband and father they adored had been dating another woman for a year and spending weekends with the woman’s family for months.
“The affair, he made a mistake. I’m not going to ever deny that,” said Shavonne. “It hurt. But, that’s between him and myself and God and that’s my choice.”
When faced with the painful shards of her broken heart Shavonne franklin made a choice.
She chose to try and keep her family together no matter what.
Those vows she’d pledged before God 14 years before, for better or for worse, were now being put to the ultimate test.
She continues to stand by her husband.
“This fight isn’t in vain. God’s always been with me and with the family; with Bert. People have mocked that, but that’s ok,” Shavonne said. “Ultimately, we know where our faith lies and our hope lies and our trust lies.”
In Tulsa, Bert’s family, Shavonne and their four girls continue to pray for a miracle.
At trial, they had hoped the jury would see their father as they did.
They now seek divine intervention.
“I mean, I am still hanging on to I know who he is,” said the oldest daughter Kalyn, who is 15 years old. “I know one day he will come walking through those doors. I have no doubt.”
“He’s missing us and we’re missing him but he will come home and we can re-start our family together, and the truth will come out,” said 12-year-old Taylor Franklin.
Their eight-year-old daughter, Ella, writes a prayer card for her father every week at church.
“I still have hope that we’ll be a family again,” said Shavonne. “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having hope.”
Bert Franklin’s victim, Lincoln Lewis would have turned four years old this year.
His mother launched a YouTube channel earlier this year to raise awareness about child abuse.
She has also appeared on Dr. Phil.
She is speaking out about the case and her loss.
Shavonne Franklin said she agreed to an interview with News 4 because her family has lost as well.
News 4 reached out to Lincoln Lewis’ mother, Roxanne Randall. She did not respond to our request.
Oklahoma County District Attorney, David Prater, told News 4, “Lincoln was not the only victim of this defendant. He continues to victimize his wife and his own children through his actions.”