Couple in court on murder allegation in starvation case

The adoptive parents of a 15-year-old Vancouver, Washington, boy who died from starvation in November had bail set at $1 million each during a court appearance in Clark County.

Felicia L. Adams and Jesse C. Franks appeared Monday in Superior Court on domestic violence charges of second-degree murder and homicide by abuse in Karreon Franks’ death, The Columbian reported.

In response to the charges being read, Franks said, "I don’t know why I’m being charged with all of this."

Senior Deputy Prosecutor James Smith described the allegations as "extremely concerning" and said the evidence in the case is overwhelming. Smith said Adams and Franks are each facing a minimum 20-year prison sentence if convicted.

The couple was extradited from San Joaquin County, California, where they had been in custody since June 4 on fugitive from justice warrants issued by Clark County.

On Monday, Vancouver attorney Jeff Sowder, who’s representing Adams, said she and her husband surrendered to police. Sowder said the couple left Vancouver after a reporter went at their door and neighbors learned of the criminal case, leading to their home being vandalized.

Judge John Fairgrieve appointed attorney David Kurtz, who was not present, to represent Franks.

Adams legally adopted Karreon Franks and his two brothers in 2012. She is their aunt, court records show.

RELATED: Police: Authorities visited starving Southwest Washington teen days before death

Karreon reportedly had a rare genetic disorder that affected his development, had severe autism and was legally blind, according to court records.

On Nov. 27, Adams and Franks took Karreon Franks to PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center in Vancouver, where he was pronounced dead 14 minutes later.

The autopsy report found Karreon weighed 61 pounds and showed abnormal bone and hair growth, as well as lesions, likely caused by starvation, court records state.

A hospital nurse contacted Child Protective Services when the teen arrived. His brothers have been removed from the couple’s custody.

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