Driver Who Killed Sevier Newlyweds Gets Vote for Parole
Jenilyn Franklin would have turned 30 in two weeks.
Instead of celebrating, her mother, Darleen Addis, expects to spend the day wondering whether the man who killed her gets his wish to leave prison on parole.
Addis and her husband, Wayne, showed up Thursday for a hearing at the Knoxville office of the state Board of Parole with an urn filled with their daughter's ashes. Larry Bruce Williamson made his bid for freedom and left one step closer to release.
"I held my daughter when she was born," Addis said. "Now all I can hold is this urn. He belongs where he is."
'Out of control'
Williamson, now 55, had a pocketful of pain pills, no driver's license and three DUI convictions when he climbed behind the wheel of his son's pickup the afternoon of Sept. 26, 2006. Brandon Franklin, 21, and Jenilyn Addis Franklin, 18, had been married barely six weeks when the pickup smashed head-on into their motorcycle on U.S. Highway 411 outside Sevierville and killed them both.
"I was just out of control," Williamson said at Thursday's hearing. "I didn't even know I was driving. I've said I'm sorry several times. I said it in court. I know I've made a lot of mistakes, but I'd like the privilege of parole."
Larry Bruce Williamson was convicted in Sevier County of two counts of vehicular homicide for causing an accident on Sept. 26, 2006, that killed newlyweds Brandon and Jenilyn Franklin. (Photo: Tennessee Department of Correction)
Gary Faulcon, the presiding board member, said he'll recommend Williamson's release to a halfway house, to be effective Oct. 1. He cited Williamson's mostly clean record as a trusty at the Bledsoe County Correctional Complex in Pikeville, Tenn. — where Williamson's served more than half of a 20-year sentence — and completion of a GED, addiction counseling, anger management therapy and various other programs behind bars.
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Darleen Addis explains why her daughter's killer does not deserve parole Matt Lakin, USA TODAY NETWORK -- Tennessee
The wait begins
Faulcon's vote didn't automatically free Williamson. Other board members will review his case file and cast their votes in the coming weeks. Williamson needs four votes for parole.
He swears he's a changed man who'll never pick up a pill or sit behind a wheel again.
Those promises aren't enough for Addis. She's spoken at three parole hearings against his release, driving from Summerville, S.C., to appear at Thursday's.
Wayne and Darleen Addis hold a portrait of their daughter, Jenilyn and her husband Brandon Franklin, on Wednesday, April 25, 2012. The newlywed couple were killed on Sept. 26, 2006 when their motorcycle was struck by a pickup truck driven by Larry Bruce Williamson who was convicted of aggravated vehicular homicide.(AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL) (Photo: Amy Smotherman Burgess, Knoxville News Sentinel)
"My only daughter can only visit me now in my heart, my memories and this urn," she said. "He was a ticking time bomb waiting to go off, but he kept getting slaps on the wrist. It's never his fault. It's always the pills — the pills he chose to take."
The board could finish its review of Williamson's case by mid-June.