Franklin Benson, who is accused of allegedly killing and dismembering the body of his girlfriend in 2007, was denied bond for the third time in Newton County Superior Court Thursday.
In a courtroom filled with relatives and friends of both the defendant and the victim, Benson was brought in before Superior Court Judge Horace Johnson
"It has been denied two times in this court, and I would ask you to deny it again," said Chief Assistant District Attorney Layla Zon.
She said Benson had allegedly tampered with evidence in the past by driving his girlfriend’s vehicle to Tennessee and instructing people to make certain statements to investigators about his innocence. She pointed out that the head and the torso of the victim, Leslyan Williams, 49, of Decatur, had never been found. She asked for a bond denial on grounds that Benson might tamper with evidence again and would present a flight risk.
Benson’s attorney Leah Davis Madden said no physical evidence existed that linking her client to the crime and he had not previously been convicted of a violent crime. She said Benson, as a lifelong resident of the metro Atlanta area, would not present a flight risk, especially since he had an ailing mother who needed care.
Madden, who is Benson’s third counsel, highlighted the logistical difficulty of having a client behind bars who was not able to assist with the case and the financial hardship on his family of hiring a lawyer for an extended period of time.
Johnson indicated there was nothing presented that he hadn’t heard before from the previous bond hearings and given the magnitude of the charges, denied the bond.
Bond was initially denied in December 2007 and again in 2008.
Madden and Zon indicated the trial might not be for another year, given the large amount of evidence for the defense to review.
Benson allegedly murdered and dismembered the body of his live-in girlfriend at the end of October.
Williams’ hands, arms, feet and legs were discovered between the back of an occupied house and a small lake off of Ga. Highway 212 on Oct. 30. Investigations revealed a link between Benson, Williams and the location, and the victim’s family later filed a missing persons report after they were unable to reach her.