Jury hears last message Bobby Tillman left for his mother - CBS46 News

Jury hears last message Bobby Tillman left for his mother

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DOUGLASVILLE, GA (CBS46) -

A Douglas County jury continued to hear testimony Friday as it considers whether to send Tracen Franklin to death row for the unprovoked beating death of 18-year-old Bobby Tillman. 

The same jury found Franklin guilty of murder earlier this week.

In court on Thursday, the defense tried to tug at the heartstrings of jurors, showing photographs of Franklin as a child playing basketball and football.

Franklin's aunt, Deborah Issacs, had a tearful message for Tillman's mother.

"We're so terribly sorry. I just want her to know our family is sorry that she lost her son," Issacs said. "When we first heard about it, our hearts broke for her."

Franklin's mother, one of his former football coaches and another one of Franklin's aunts also testified about his character, describing him as a driven college student.

His mother talked about his turbulent upbringing. She said Franklin was a good kid who made a mistake.

"We are asking for life with the possibility of parole," said Franklin's attorney, Jerilyn Bell. "I'm asking you for mercy. I'm asking you not to kill Tracen Franklin."

Earlier, Douglas County prosecutor Bonnie Smith asked the jury to recommend execution as the only suitable punishment.

Tillman was killed outside a house party in Douglasville in November of 2010. Witnesses said Franklin and three of his friends randomly targeted the much smaller Tillman, punching, kicking and stomping him, causing a tear in his heart.
 
Tillman's aunt, grandmother and his mother all took the stand and read prepared statements.

"My life is miserable and lonely without my son. A mother is not supposed to bury her child," said Monique Rivarde, Tillman's mother.

Rivarde told jurors her son was very close to his younger sister. Prosecutors showed a slide show of nearly 20 photos of an always-smiling Tillman.

Prosecutors also played a recording of his last voicemail message to his mom.

"Mom, I'm on my way to work. I couldn't text you because I'm driving. I'm running a little late, but I will still be there on time. Just call back if you want to, but I'm about to go to work. OK? I love you, bye."

The defense is expected to wrap up on Friday. Court is in recess on Monday. On Tuesday, both sides will present closing arguments regarding sentencing, and the jury will then determine a recommended sentence.

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