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No more appeals for Bristol killer, petition for new trial withdrawn

Franklin Delph exits the courtroom in Blountville after withdrawing his post-conviction petition. (Thomas Gray/WCYB)

No more appeals or petitions will be allowed for a convicted killer from Bristol. Thursday in court, 59-year-old Franklin Lee Delph withdrew his post-conviction petition for a new trial.

In 2015, Delph took a plea deal for second-degree murder for shooting and killing his wife, Sue Dobbins Delph. It happened at Edgemont towers in Bristol, and he was sentenced to 25 years in prison. Soon after, Delph filed to have his conviction overturned. He withdrew that petition, apparently realizing the risk of a harsher sentence.

Rebecca Dobbins Bellamy, daughter of Sue Dobbins Delph, watches as her mother's killer enters court. Her family drove all night from Alabama to be in court.

"It's been an emotional roller coaster,” Bellamy said. “You think it's over, and then you find out it's not."

After pleading guilty to second degree murder, Franklin Delph's post-conviction petition was repeatedly postponed. There will be no way for him to escape the 25-year sentence after this withdrawal.

"What he was asking for was the judge to set aside that guilty plea and allow him to proceed on that original indictment of first degree murder," Assistant District Attorney Teresa Nelson said.

Rather than risk a first-degree murder trial, Delph withdraws his petition. Bellamy feels thankful the case may be finally over.

"So from May of 2015 until today, it's been appeal after appeal after appeal,” Bellamy said. “Today, finally, thank God, It's come to a complete end."

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