A seemingly random attack on a Texas highway in May 2005 ended the life of young Ana Franklin. She was in a car with her cousin, Jennifer Holliday, who the assailant then took hostage. Investigation Discovery’s ‘Your Worst Nightmare: Life on the Line’ delves into the story behind Ana’s tragic murder and how Jennifer stayed calm, using her wits to free herself from the clutches of her attacker. So, let’s find out more about his case then, shall we?
How Did Ana Franklin Die?
Ana Danielle Franklin was born in April 1987 in Angelina County, Texas. The 18-year-old was described as a free spirit who had recently moved in with Jennifer in Lufkin, Texas. At the time, Ana helped out by taking care of Jennifer’s son, who was about five years old back then. Since Jennifer worked as a paramedic, she spent long hours on the job, and having Ana around made things easier for her. On the morning of May 29, 2005, Jennifer came home from work late but had to pick up Ana from a house where she was babysitting.
They stopped at a convenience store to buy snacks on their way back, and while driving on the highway, they were suddenly attacked. A shotgun blast through the left side meant Jennifer’s arm was injured. A 911 call from Ana alerted the authorities, but the phone was cut off abruptly. When the officers found the abandoned car, they saw Ana with a fatal shotgun wound to the back of her head. A 28-gauge shotgun was found at the scene, but Jennifer was missing.
Who Killed Ana Franklin?
By then, Jennifer had been taken hostage by the assailant. They went deep into the woods, where he sexually assaulted her. Then, the attacker burned Jennifer’s body with cigarettes. But suddenly, according to the show, the man then grew concerned for Jennifer’s bleeding arm, making a complete change in his personality. Using this as an opportunity, she convinced him to take her to his house so a 911 call could be made.
Jennifer said, “I figured that was going to be the only chance to use a phone or find anybody around; by that time, I had lost so much blood I couldn’t hardly stay awake.” At the man’s residence, Jennifer was able to contact 911 and provide an address. The authorities then identified the attacker as Eric Parnell. Jennifer made Eric believe that he was helping her. She convinced him that she loved him and would marry him once she got treatment.
Eventually, the authorities got to the house and arrested Eric without incident. He then confessed to killing Ana and raping Jennifer. Eric told the police that he had been drinking and had taken Xanax before the attack. Eric claimed that he didn’t know why he did what he did, adding that a phone call with his ex-girlfriend’s father didn’t go well earlier, making him angry. It was stated on the show that Eric had held his wife hostage in Washington previously.
Where Are Jennifer Holliday and Eric Parnell Now?
Eric, then 32 years old, pleaded guilty to capital murder and aggravated sexual assault to avoid the death penalty. He was handed down two consecutive life sentences in prison. Jennifer, who was gravely hurt in the arm, was present at Eric’s sentencing. She said to him, “God will give me peace one day; I know he will. There’s no sense to what you did – none. You will spend eternity in hell for what you did. I know that.” Eric remains incarcerated at the H. H. Coffield Unit in Tennessee Colony, Texas.
Jennifer later lost her insurance but was treated a local hospital in 2007. While the surgery restored some range of movement in her arm, she would never regain full functionality, according to doctors. Jennifer later said, “I know mentally, and physically I’ll never be able to go back to the job I used to have. I’ll be able to do something, I’m sure.” While Jennifer still seems to live in Lufkin, Texas, not much else is known about what she currently does.
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