ALBANY — Two sisters have been found guilty by a Dougherty County jury of falsely committing their mother to a behavioral health ward despite the fact that she was actually sane.
The Dougherty Superior Court jury convicted Carrie Lee Franklin and Connie Lynn Justice of causing their mother, Jean Sancken, to be falsely committed to a mental health ward at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, officials with the Dougherty District Attorney’s Office said.
The conviction came down Monday afternoon. A pre-sentencing investigation is to take place before a sentence is determined, said District Attorney Greg Edwards.
The sisters were each found guilty of one count of maliciously confining a sane person, which they were indicted for in December. They could potentially face up to 10 years, Edwards said.
Sancken was involuntarily committed to Phoebe for three days, officials say. There were other allegations brought forth in connection to the case, including that the sisters took the mother’s belongings during her commitment, which prosecutors did not pursue a conviction on, Edwards said.
Superior Court Judge Denise Marshall presided over the trial.
Officials say the trial suggested the family was having domestic issues.
“One sister was living there (with the mother), and there were issues relative to her conduct,” Edwards said. “The mother was dissatisfied. (The daughter) did not pay rent, so (Sancken) went to the magistrate court.
“The court said to move out within a week, and (Franklin and Justice) went to the probate court making these allegations that she was insane.”
There was an alternate juror who died of natural causes while the trial was ongoing, which did not have any impact on the trial proceedings, Edwards said.