A man who would have been on probation for his drug conviction will now have to spend six months in jail — all because he fled before hearing a jury's sentencing verdict.
To make matters worse, James Carroll Franklin was captured after a high-speed chase through three counties, for which he faces more charges that could bring additional jail time.
Franklin, 47, of Azle, apparently panicked Wednesday after hearing prosecutors in the Wise County courtroom urge jurors to sentence him to life in prison, said his attorney, Jim Shaw.
Franklin, who was allowed to remain free after being convicted of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, asked Shaw if he would be able to see his daughter and take care of personal business. Shaw said he told Franklin probably not.
But the attorney said he also explained to Franklin that he likely would get probation and that a sentence of less than 10 years would allow him to go free on an appeal bond within 24 hours.
Franklin then went to the restroom, and less than five minutes later jurors returned with their verdict: a $1,000 fine and six years in prison, which they recommended be probated, Shaw said.
When Franklin couldn't be located, despite text messages from family members, Wise County deputies broadcast a radio message to stop him, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported Thursday.
Franklin then led authorities on a high-speed chase through Wise and Parker counties before he was captured in Tarrant County by officers who rammed his car and used a stun gun on him when he resisted arrest, Shaw said.
Shaw said his client realized his mistake Thursday morning when the judge sentenced him to 180 days in jail for violating terms of his 10-year probation. Franklin also faces a felony charge of evading arrest in a motor vehicle, his attorney said. The charge is punishable by 180 days to 2 years in jail.
"He told me, 'I fouled up, didn't I?" Shaw said. "I said, 'Yea, legally you probably did."