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Man gets 25-year sentence after rejecting plea deal

Neal to spend 25 years in jail

Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 8:50 PM
Last updated Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 1:53 AM
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Even after Franklin Neal had badly hurt her, Veronica Bland wanted a prosecutor to offer her ex-boyfriend 10 years in prison to end the aggravated-assault case. Neal, however, said he shouldn’t get any time because he was defending himself when he choked and repeatedly stabbed Bland nearly three years ago.



Neal, 42, rejected the plea offer last week. On Tuesday, a jury returned a guilty verdict after a previous jury deadlocked on the aggravated assault charge last October. Now he must spend 25 years in prison.

Assistant District Attorney Justin Jones prosecuted Neal last fall and was determined to finish the job before he leaves the district attorney’s office. Neal’s inability to get along with defense attorneys – he filed a bar complaint against the first and insisted his second attorney wasn’t doing a good job – had caused delays in the past.

Defense attorney Joshua Smith told the judge last week that Neal wasn’t cooperating with him and refused to talk with him. That made presenting a self-defense case impossible, he said.

Judge Michael N. Annis told Neal that he would not delay the trial again and that if he continued to refuse to talk with his attorney, Neal would be the cause of any shortcomings in the defense.

“The evidence showed that on Oct. 18, 2010, Bland came home and began packing Neal’s bags,” Jones wrote in an e-mail. “Bland was fed up that Neal was not working, was not helping with the kids, and was not keeping up the house. Neal did not want to leave and began choking her.

“Although Bland got away long enough to run toward the door, Neal caught her before she could leave and ultimately stabbed her nine times with a knife blade 8 inches long,” Jones wrote.

Neal stabbed Bland three times in the face, twice in the shoulder, twice in the chest, once in the neck and once on the right arm, Jones wrote.

“Two fingers on her left hand required surgery because as she was under him being stabbed, she grabbed the knife blade with her left hand in attempt to prevent him from stabbing her,” he wrote. “The best part of the story is that her neighbor Ronnie Jennings came to her rescue. Ronnie heard her screams from across the street and although his friends urged him not to get involved, he rushed to the front door and banged on it like a Richmond County deputy.

“(Neal) left out the side door of the house and left in Bland’s car. Had he not intervened, this would’ve been a murder case.”

After the conviction, Annis sentenced Neal to serve 25 years in prison, followed by five years on probation.

Comments (16) Add comment
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pantherluvcik
628
Points
pantherluvcik 08/29/13 - 05:41 am
6
2
Women need to stop feeling

Women need to stop feeling sorry for these men who feel it's okay to harm women. I wouldn't have given 10 years a consideration if he stabbed me. He tries to kill her because she wanted his deadbeat behind out of her house, and that somehow becomes self defense in his mind. I don't think 25 years is enough for someone like this. He gives his lawyers hell for trying to help him. People like this don't change because they feel the world somehow owes them something.

longarm
55
Points
longarm 08/29/13 - 07:23 am
0
2
Losing a great one.

We're losing a great ADA in Justin Jones. He's a wonderful advocate and a passionate voice for justice. Great work to all involved in this case.

seenitB4
90951
Points
seenitB4 08/29/13 - 07:30 am
3
0
Judge Annis

He means business....don't mess with the JUDGE!

nocnoc
45052
Points
nocnoc 08/29/13 - 07:40 am
3
0
Why do women try to play mommy to grown men?

Why do grown some men live off a girlfriend, like a pimp lives off a prostitute?

Maybe it is time we start teaching a class at local High Schools
on how to pick Real Men, and not a leech, or Baby Daddy?

BTW: Picture of the guy that claimed he was defending himself.
http://www.bustedmugshots.com/georgia/augusta/franklin-reon-neal/104778441

jimmymac
42941
Points
jimmymac 08/29/13 - 08:07 am
1
0
FINALLY
Unpublished

This is the first case I've seen where a judge and prosecutor have meted out a punishment that was just. It's wonderful that the perp was so stupid to turn down the plea bargain for a 10 year sentence. The first offer should never have been offered because 10 years wasn't nearly enough for what this thug did to that poor woman. If the prosecutor offered it to him I'm glad he leaving.

ragingbull
945
Points
ragingbull 08/29/13 - 08:41 am
2
0
Maybe he will get a chance to

Maybe he will get a chance to defend himself in prison. Big Bubba will even give him a chance to get to the door, but guess what? The door will be locked.

Riverman1
87009
Points
Riverman1 08/29/13 - 09:03 am
5
2
Flaw in the justice system

Specifics aside, I find something unreasoned when a defendant could accept 10 years if he doesn’t go to trial, but get’s 25 when he does. It seems to me the crime should dictate the penalty and not whether there is a trial. I know this practice is common and it won’t be changed, but I’ll still point out it’s a flaw. It pushes defendants to never go to trial which is an integral component of our justice system. Just take the sentence even if you're not guilty.

JRC2024
9309
Points
JRC2024 08/29/13 - 08:51 am
2
0
Good sentence Judge Annis and

Good sentence Judge Annis and much better than the wreck sentence. I agree with you 100% on this one pantherluck. He showed them didn't he. (How stupid he was)

GiantsAllDay
9863
Points
GiantsAllDay 08/29/13 - 02:53 pm
2
0
Riverman, I'm with you on

Riverman, I'm with you on this one. Plea bargaining is a necessary evil and will always be a part of the process. Many years ago I served on a jury in California. At the conclusion of the trial, the judge thanked us for our service. Then he stated that our system is FAR from perfect, but it's the best in the world.

Darby
26945
Points
Darby 08/29/13 - 02:55 pm
2
0
Some people just can't avoid looking a

gift horse in the mouth.

OJP
6951
Points
OJP 08/29/13 - 05:29 pm
1
0
I agree Riverman1.

The defendant in no way should be penalized for exercising his constitutional right to trial.

Willow Bailey
20603
Points
Willow Bailey 08/29/13 - 06:58 pm
1
0
I don't believe Ms. Bland

I don't believe Ms. Bland felt sorry for him. I think she thought he was going to get away with it and so 10 years was looking good to her.

I'm glad his arrogance and ignorance produced a right result and that the victim and her family show up for every parole hearing.

Darby
26945
Points
Darby 08/29/13 - 06:54 pm
2
0
"I find something unreasoned when a

defendant could accept 10 years if he doesn’t go to trial, but get’s 25 when he does."

.
Have you considered that details came out in the trial that weren't known or available when the plea bargain was offered?

Something that was uncovered in Discovery?

Willow Bailey
20603
Points
Willow Bailey 08/29/13 - 07:03 pm
3
0
Then why even offer one?

The term is plea "bargain" and it's purpose is suppose to be a bilateral, not unilateral one.

Dixieman
15999
Points
Dixieman 08/29/13 - 09:11 pm
2
0
99 times out of 100...

...you want to take the deal. Just how the system works, folks.

corgimom
34193
Points
corgimom 08/29/13 - 09:34 pm
1
0
He wasn't penalized in the

He wasn't penalized in the slightest. The prison sentence was fair and just.

That crazy person thought he deserved an acquittal. He should've been sentenced to life without parole, when he gets out, he'll find his next victim.

Darby
26945
Points
Darby 08/29/13 - 10:53 pm
1
0
"99 times out of 100...

...you want to take the deal. Just how the system works, folks."

.
Dixieman - not to split hairs, but are you sure it's not 98.5 times out of 100?

I never was that good at higher mathematics.

lifelongresident
1323
Points
lifelongresident 08/30/13 - 08:57 am
0
0
"pleese yo honah..my boyfrin
Unpublished

"pleese yo honah..my boyfrin aint not mean me no harm fo sho...he it were accident dat he stabbed me so many time dat da nife were slippin and all he was tryin to do was ketch it but the blade kep hittin me all ovah mah body by accident...pleeese gibs him mercy so he kin git out and we be dagethah again".....what you have is typical in the black community with the shortage of good and decent men and the women who pass them by choosing sorry azz men like mr. neal who will not work, possess little or no education or job skills, prefer to live off the women who stupidly time and time again agree to choose these type of men...but whine and complain that they "caint not fin any guut men" because in their mind.."it be bettah to hab a sorry azz man din no man at all"

Little Lamb
46989
Points
Little Lamb 08/30/13 - 09:21 am
1
0
Plea Deal

You know that the district attorney must have made some kind of plea offer to Kristine Heath (where she ran a stop sign, resulting in a crash in which a passenger died). Since her attorney talked her out of accepting it, we will never know what the offer was. But I'll bet if Ms. Heath had taken the offer, she would have served much less jail time than what Judge Annis sentenced her to.

Her attorney is a known gambler. This time, he gambled, but she lost.

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