Witnesses choked up as they describe early abuse signs

Witnesses choked up as they describe early abuse signs

BUTLER, GA (WTVM) - "I thought she was talking to a dog" was how one witness testified a woman allegedly treated her adopted daughter, as a child abuse trial out of Taylor County continued Friday.

The adoptive mother is accused of, among other things, punishing her daughter by locking her in a chicken coop for days, sometimes naked. A lot of tears and choked up testimonies filled the courtroom as witnesses say they knew defendant Diana Franklin and how she was allegedly treating her adopted daughter, but they did not tell authorities.

"Not saying something" is a regret that still haunts Steve Montgomery years later.

Montgomery testified about his encounter with defendant Diana Franklin who he says he hired to help clean up a room on his property. He explained in court Friday how he offered Franklin and her daughter treats for their hard work, but Franklin allegedly wouldn't let the victim in this case have any.

"She hollered at - she said - you're a thief, I said what do you mean? She said she done stole some of these honey buns, I said no she hadn't stole them, I told y'all you could have them, that's what I had them for," said Montgomery..

However the behavior Montgomery saw was only the tip of the iceberg of alleged abuse. Franklin is accused of starving her daughter, locking her up in various shelters without food, water, or a proper bathroom for weeks.

Forcing her to stay in a chicken coop naked for days during blazing and frigid temperatures were other gruesome allegations that came up in the trial. Members of the defendant's former Bible study group say they too saw glimpses of harsh discipline but didn't know the extent.

"I would always try to just encourage her and uplift her, hug her, nothing nice was ever said about her...I felt really bad," said Shirley Hartley to a jury.

The trail is scheduled to continue Tuesday morning. This portion is only for Mrs. Franklin, as  Mr. Franklin is scheduled to appear before a jury in December.

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