Family of Fort Worth woman killed by ex-boyfriend remember her as loving mother and friend

Family members of Karen Finney, who was fatally shot by her ex-boyfriend in 2019, said she had a big heart and was always helping others.

“Karen was just that person,” Finney’s sister Harmonie Soule told the Star-Telegram. “She had it, she’d give, she’d share and she loved kids.”

Soule said so many people came forward at Finney’s funeral to tell how she’d helped them — everything from babysitting their children to lending them money when they had a need. Finney, 32, also found joy in providing for her four children, Soule said.

Jarvis Franklin shot Finney multiple times in her east Fort Worth home on Jan. 18, 2019. A Fort Worth judge sentenced Franklin to life in prison on May 9.

“He cannot ever be on the streets of this county — or anywhere else,” Assistant District Attorney Allenna Bangs said during closing arguments of the sentencing hearing after Franklin pleaded guilty to murder.

Franklin and Finney attended high school together and dated for a short time during their school days, according to Soule. They reconnected years later and started seeing each other again. About a month into their relationship, Franklin became physically abusive and started to threaten Finney.

Finney told Franklin to leave her alone, but he would show up at her place of employment, according to Soule. Franklin’s mother also got involved, begging Finney to let Franklin stay with her because he didn’t have anywhere else to go.

Finney’s family didn’t learn about the abuse and threats until Bangs told them a week before Franklin’s trial, Soule said. Investigators found threatening messages from Franklin to Finney on his phone. He repeatedly threatened to kill her and she was scared.

Soule said the family was shocked.

“We didn’t know and, you know, it’s just that thing like why didn’t she tell us?” Soule said. “But knowing K, she probably was just trying to protect us and thought she could handle it on her own.”

Soule said Finney’s death has been especially hard on her children, three of whom were home at the time of the murder. They still have night terrors, according to Soule.

Franklin’s trial kept getting pushed back because of COVID. Soule said the wait was hard and they are relieved Franklin got the sentence he did, but that doesn’t lessen the family’s suffering.

“It’s hard to celebrate, you know, because this is it and Karen’s gone,” Soule said. “She can’t come back.”

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