52-year-old truck driver charged as juvenile for killing New Jersey woman

Carlton Franklin (left) and Lena Triano  
By: Debbi Gross 

A middle aged man has been tried and convicted as a juvenile after killing a New Jersey woman many years ago, according to court proceedings.

A truck driver has now been convicted of brutally murdering a woman in New Jersey, more than 30 years ago.
A Union County judge convicted Carlton Franklin for killing neighbor Lena Triano in her Westfield home in 1976.

Prosecutors say Triano was found bound, beaten and raped in her home.
Franklin was arrested last spring after the district attorney's office cold case unit uncovered evidence that could be tested with modern techniques.

Since Franklin was 15-years-old at the time of the murder, prosecutors charged the 52-year-old in juvenile court, according to the laws in force in 1976. Because he was tried as a minor, prosecutors could not release his identity. Police sources identified him as Franklin as prosecutors seek permission from a judge to officially release his name.

At present there appears to be a growing debate about what his sentence should be. He could face up to 20 years if convicted as an adult, or face up to 10 years in prison if convicted as a minor. If sentenced as a minor, the penalty usually revolves around how best to rehabilitate him. He has not committed a crime in more than fourteen years.

"He got away with it for 36 years and finally justice prevailed," prosecutors said after the verdict.
Franklin, who has spent two decades in prison for a separate robbery and kidnapping, has had a job as a truck driver for oil since his release in 1999.