Wise County man sentenced to 20 years for 2015 death of 5-month-old, previously charged for abuse of infant’s deceased twin


WISE COUNTY, Va. (WJHL) – A Pound, Virginia man was sentenced to 20 years in prison for the death and abuse of his infant child in 2015, according to the Wise County Commonwealth’s Attorney.

A release from the office of Commonwealth’s Attorney Chuck Slemp states Franklin Len Mullins, 49, was sentenced on Wednesday on charges of involuntary manslaughter, child abuse and neglect and unlawful wounding.

Mullins’ charges stem from the 2015 death of his 5-month-old son, according to the release.

“Mullins is already serving an active sentence for child abuse and neglect related to another infant victim,” the release reads.

The release states an investigation against Mullins started in 2015 following the deaths of his twin sons, the first of which died on June 2 when he was 2 months and 22 days old. The cause of death was reportedly determined to be an E. coli infection.

The Commonwealth Attorney’s Office stated that Mullins was convicted of child abuse and neglect in December 2019 in that case. He was sentenced to serve two years and six months for that charge.

According to the release, the second child died on August 17, 2015. Investigators reportedly arrived at the Mullins home following a report of an unresponsive child with possible seizures.

The five-month-old was transported to the Niswonger Children’s Hospital in Johnson City, where he later died.

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Roanoke reportedly said the infant had died due to “blunt force head trauma and brain injuries.”

“Mullins later admitted to investigators that he was the only one caring for the child during the time the infant suffered injuries, but denied physically harming the baby,” the release states.

“This is a tragic and heartbreaking case. An innocent child’s life was taken before he could reach his full potential,” said Commonwealth’s Attorney Chuck Slemp. “I am thankful for the efforts of Sheriff Grant Kilgore and the hard work of his investigating team, the medical examiner, and the social workers involved, and thankful that after almost six years Mr. Mullins will finally be held accountable for the abuse of his infant twins.”

As of Wednesday, Mullins remains in the Southwest Virginia Regional Jail at Duffield and will be transferred to the Virginia Department of Corrections.

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