Adoptive parents sentenced in starving death of Washington teen

Dec 12, 2023, 9:37 AM | Updated: 9:48 am

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Gavel (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The adoptive parents convicted in the starving death of a 15-year-old boy in Washington state have been sentenced to decades in prison.

Judge Suzan Clark last week sentenced Felicia L. Adams to 35 years in prison and Jesse C. Franks to 30 years in the 2020 death of Karreon Franks. The couple also had been convicted on charges of criminal mistreatment of Karreon’s brothers, The Columbian newspaper reported.

Attorneys for Adams and Franks said they planned to appeal the convictions and sentences.

Clark called what happened to Karreon “one of the saddest things I have seen in 37 years.” She said she had never before returned to her chambers after a trial and “had all of the jurors in tears because of what they had been through.” An alternate juror complained of being unable to sleep.

Adams, 54, and Franks, 58, were convicted by a jury in Clark County Superior Court in October.

Karreon was autistic, had developmental delays, was legally blind and used a cane. Prosecutor Laurel Smith called him “an extremely vulnerable child.”

Prosecutors said at trial that he and his brothers were accustomed to food restrictions and corporal punishment at their home in Vancouver. Karreon lost 47% of his body weight between July 2019 and his death on Nov. 27, 2020, dropping from 115 pounds to 61 pounds, prosecutors said. For much of that time, he was isolated at home due to the pandemic.

Adams, the boys’ maternal aunt, said the defense didn’t get an opportunity to put on certain evidence for the court. Franks blamed his lack of education and job training for not taking an active role in the household.

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Adoptive parents sentenced in starving death of Washington teen