Prosecution makes case in corrections officer's killing

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Inmate Richard Franklin and Sgt. Ruben Thomas

LAKE CITY, Fla. - After eight days of jury selection, a jury was empanelled Wednesday and opening statements were made in the case of an inmate accused of killing a Lake City corrections officer last year.

The prosecution was presenting its case Thursday in the trial of Richard Franklin, who's charged with murder in the stabbing death of 24-year-old Sgt. Ruben Thomas in March 2012.

Franklin, who has been in prison since 1995 serving a life sentence for murder, could face a death sentence if convicted of murdering Thomas at Columbia Correctional Institution near Lake City.

Thomas was stabbed in the neck with a handmade weapon. A second guard was treated and released from a hospital after being injured in the attack.

Franklin was convicted of murdering 25-year-old Bethune-Cookman University student Gregory Roper in 1994. He also received life for robbing an elderly man and 30 years for shooting the victim, who survived.

Thomas left behind a fiancee, a daughter and a baby boy on the way.

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