Tuesday afternoon the jury hearing evidence in the sentencing phase of a trial in 8th Judicial District Court found itself with a new face on the panel. One of the three alternate jurors was seated in the box and only two alternates remained. 8th Judicial District Judge Eddie Northcutt announced that one juror had been removed for having formed an opinion regarding the case and having shared that opinion with another juror. It was just another twist in an already unusual trial.
Tuesday morning, October 6, 2015, just before his jury trial was to begin in 8th Judicial District Court, Franklin Coy Kuhl, Jr., 50, pled guilty to trafficking a child for the purpose of engaging in sexual conduct. The child was a 13-year old at the time of the offense. The jury began hearing the punishment phase of the trial shortly after 9 a.m. Tuesday.
Kuhl could face up to 25 years to 99 years or life after the District Attorney Will Ramsay arraigned Kuhl on enhanced charges before the court and jury. Kuhl pled true to four previous convictions including a 2004 conviction of possession of a controlled substance, a 2003 conviction of bail jumping and failure to appear along with a 2003 DWI 3rd arrest. In 1985, Kuhl served time in prison for escape. Kulh has previously been imprisoned twice and has been on parole three times. He was on parole at the time of the current charge.
On Monday, a 12-member jury and three alternates were picked to hear the case. Kuhl was accused of taking a minor from Hopkins County to Hunt County for the purpose of sex. He pled to taking the child to a Motel 6 in Greenville and participating in sexual activity multiple times during a day in February, 2014.