A Port Arthur man has been sentenced to a lengthy prison term for stealing paint.
Gerald Franklin, 47, went to trial for the theft of 5-gallon buckets of paint he stole from an elderly woman in Port Arthur Aug. 2, 2012.
After a jury convicted Franklin of the offense, jurors had the obligation of sentencing him and were allowed to consider Franklin’s seasoned criminal history in the area of theft.
According to prosecutors, based on Franklin’s eight prior felony convictions — dating back until at least 1984 — the jury had a sentencing range of 25 years to life in prison.
Before the sentencing, Franklin took to the stand in an emotional cry for help.
He said his life of crime and incarceration has centered around his addiction to crack cocaine, adding the effect on his victims was minimal.
“I was doing crack cocaine,” he said. “But I never hurt anyone.”
“No one was ever hurt in my crimes.”
Franklin’s prior criminal history includes multiple counts of robbery, drug trafficking, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and theft.
Franklin pleaded with jurors to be lenient, saying he tried to get help for his drug addiction while in prison, but services were simply unavailable at the time.
“They didn’t have the money to fund us,” he said.
After a life in and out of Texas prisons, Franklin begged not to be sent back to jail and promised to reform his drug habit.
“I’ve been locked up all my life,” he said. “I don’t want it no more.”
It seems jurors weren’t convinced. After deliberating only a few minutes, jurors came back with a sentence of 55 years in jail for burglary of a habitation.