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Francis sentenced to life
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Thomas Francis received a total sentence of life plus seven years today in Newton County Superior Court for the 2006 murder of his wife Denise Michele "Shelly" Francis.

Francis, 63, in an orange jumpsuit, handcuffs and glasses, looked ahead as Judge Horace Johnson pronounced the sentence for murder, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, family violence battery and obstruction of an emergency call.

Before the sentencing, Shelly's sister, Yvette Moore, read a statement with a cracking voice.

"Why did he shoot her three times? Why didn't he just walk away?" she asked. "I will never understand."

Moore said her memory of her sister's voice and laugh had been replaced with the voice from the 911 call as she begged for help.

"I thought I had forgiven Tommy... I'm not so sure," she said. "I hope the sound of Shelly begging is burned into his memory forever."

Jurors found Francis guilty last week of 11 counts, including one count of malice murder, two counts of felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault, five counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, one count of family violence battery and one count of obstruction of an emergency call, for shooting Shelly, 52, on the morning of Oct. 31, 2006 at their Social Circle home.


For the full story, read our Friday, Aug. 15, 2008 print edition.