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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.

Murder trial postponed third time

Franklin J. Dent
Franklin J. Dent
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press
Tuesday, January 10, 2017 10:27 am
The saying goes, "Third time's the charm," but evidently not relating to Franklin J. Dent, who was scheduled to go on trial for murder for the third time Tuesday in Allen Superior Court. Dent, 40, of the 700 block of Third Street, has been in the Allen County Jail since September 2015 awaiting trial for the January 2015 killing of Jessica Ann Fecht, 34, of Portage, Wis. Dent is accused of murder and altering the scene of death.

A key prosecution witness was too ill to testify during this week's scheduled trial, causing it to be rescheduled a third time to May 23 through May 25.

In March, one of Dent's sisters, who was scheduled to testify as a witness for the prosecution, was sitting on a bench outside the courtroom before the trial began when another sister, Stephanie Ann Dent, approached her with an "aggressive" tone and manner in front of potential jurors who were assembling nearby, according to Allen Superior Court Judge Fran Gull at the time. She was sentenced to serve 1 1/2 years on probation for obstruction of justice on Aug. 3.

Dent's murder trial was rescheduled again in early August after a potential new piece of evidence was presented, resulting in the prosecution's and defense's need to examine it.

Fecht moved to Fort Wayne in December 2014 to be with Dent, whom she considered her boyfriend, court documents said. Relatives who last heard from her Jan. 12, 2015, became concerned and asked the Fort Wayne Police Department to try to make contact with her. Police went to a house in the 1500 block of Sherman Boulevard, where she and Dent reportedly were living, but didn't locate her.

Her body, which allegedly had been buried in a hole in the basement of the home, was found Feb. 5, 2015, by a contractor who had been hired to clean out Dent's furniture after the property owner declared the house abandoned, court documents said. An autopsy determined Fecht was strangled.


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