A DOCTOR'S WIFE CLAIMS SELF DEFENSE AFTER SHE KILLS HER MILLIONAIRE HUSBAND?WAS HE WORTH MORE DEAD THAN ALIVE? ON "48 HOURS MYSTERY," SATURDAY, JAN. 8 ON THE CBS TELEVISION NETWORK
On a hot August night in 2009, 56-year-old Sandra Franklin called police to report a violent confrontation with her husband at their Bainbridge, Ohio, horse ranch. Shortly after, authorities received another call from her home, this time from victim himself, Dr. Peter Franklin, who had been stabbed in the chest. Peter, clinging to laundry, tried to stop the bleeding with the clothes he was holding. Within hours, Peter was dead and his wife was charged with murder. But what could have brought their loving relationship to this?
The couple's nine-year romance began after several previous relationships. Peter, who years earlier lost his son from his first marriage in a tragic accident, had finally seemed to find the love of his life in Sandra. The couple loved riding horses together and Sandra even taught children to ride. Only three months after their first date, Sandra and Peter were married in 2000. The newly weds were inseparable, with Sandra helping Peter with his medical practice.
After firing Peter's longtime office manager, Sandra took over running the practice and almost immediately things began to change both at home and at work. She says the romance quickly faded. In an effort to increase profits, Peter dropped his malpractice insurance, no longer accepted health insurance and moved his assets to Sandra in case he was sued. Peter also shifted from family medicine to pain management and, according to law enforcement officials, dispensed an alarming amount of drugs - and generated a lot of cash. State drug investigators raided the office in 2009, but no arrests were made . Sandra claims that the enormous stress of the investigation changed Peter and he became violent. The couple was now on the brink of divorce and Peter was demanding his assets back. Sandra refused and, she says, Peter threatened her life. And eventually, one of their arguments turned fatal.
Sandra claimed it was an act of self-defense after Peter held a penknife to her. But prosecutors were skeptical. According to Sandra, Peter had backed her into a corner in their small laundry room where she stabbed him, yet no blood was at the scene. Authorities believed that Peter had been doing the laundry when his wife attacked him, but Sandra had a different explanation. She says that in the middle of his vicious attack on her, Peter stopped suddenly to get his laundry.
Investigators suspected that the scratches found on Sandra's body were self-inflicted and that her 911 call were all part of fabricating her claims of self-defense. With three-million dollars on the line and Peter's million-dollar life insurance policy, it appeared Sandra had plenty of motive.
Nine months later, Sandra was facing a jury awaiting the verdict in her four-day murder trial. She was found guilty and despite her pleas that it was self-defense, she was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison.
Correspondent Peter Van Sant reports on 48 HOURS MYSTERY "Fatal Choice," to be broadcast on Saturday, Jan. 8 (10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Click here to watch a sneak peek of the broadcast.
This broadcast is produced by Alec Sirken. Anthony Batson is the senior producer. Al Briganti is the executive editor. Susan Zirinsky is the executive producer.