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Boyfriend formally charged
Evidence recovered from suspect's home, business

COVINGTON - A man arrested in connection with the death of a woman whose severed body parts were found strewn about a wooded area off Ga. Highway 212 late last month, has been formally charged in connection with the crime.

The suspect, Franklin Benson, 47, is being charged with murder and concealing the death of another in connection with the slaying of his girlfriend, 49-year-old Leslyan Williams of Decatur.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation announced Sunday that they were able to identify Williams from fingerprints taken from one of the hands that was recovered during a manhunt in which more than 50 law enforcement officials combed a 5-acre tract of land and dragged nearby lakes. Ultimately, all of the Williams extremities were located, but the whereabouts of her head and torso remain unknown.

According to Lt. Bill Watterson, spokesman for the Newton County Sheriff's Office, investigators have recovered "items of evidence" from Benson's business, Benson Auto Service and Repair at 4806 Covington Highway in Decatur, as well as his Atlanta home.

Benson is being held without bond at the Newton County Detention Center, according to a jail official.

Authorities ask that anyone with information about Benson or Williams call the GBI at 1-800-597-TIPS or the NCSO at 678-625-1403. Tips can be given to the NCSO anonymously at 678-625-5007 or through the Web at www.newtonsheriffga.org and clicking on "anonymous tip line." Those who want a response from NCSO personnel should leave contact information.

Joel Griffin can be reached at joel.griffin@newtoncitizen.com