'Manchester by Sea' inspired duo to kill son
The couple chose to kill their disabled adoptive son and cover up the crime with a house fire after watching the Oscar-winning movie "Manchester by the Sea", according to the NY prosecutor handling the case.
Jeffrey Franklin, 16, was killed within two hours of his parents Ernest and Heather Franklin watching the film, Chenango County District Attorney Joseph McBride argued during a bail hearing. They have been accused of setting fire to their Guilford, NY, house in attempt to hide their crime.
The film tells the story of a man who accidentally starts a fire that kills his children.
The father told police he was away from the house chasing down the familys dogs when the fire started, officials said.
McBride said during the bail review Friday that the couple had been watching Manchester by the Sea, starring Oscar-winner Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams, just two hours before the Franklins' home was set ablaze, which he alleged inspired the couple to set the house on fire.
"There was a very big strain in the family relationship because of Jeffrey's special needs and that this defendant was complaining on Facebook about the strain that that was putting on her", said Mr McBride.
McBride told the court that the defendant was very calm when police arrived and pointed to the room where Jeffrey was lying.
Heather Franklin's attorney said his client is innocent until proven guilty.
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Ernest Franklin II, 35, and Heather Franklin, 33, allegedly started a fire in their upstate NY home to cover up the death of 16-year-old Jeffrey Franklin last month.
"It later turned out, Judge, that after the examination of the - of the victim's body, it was determined that the victim was killed before the fire and that there were no natural causes".
He added the state was "charging her with murder without even knowing what caused the death". Neither had posted bail Wednesday.
Mrs Franklin - who is now pregnant - told investigators that she visited two shops looking for a specific medication that night.
According to the Chenango County Sheriff's Office, the Mount Upton fire department and others from the area responded to the fire March 1.
After arguments by defendants' attorneys, bail was set for Ernest Franklin at $250,000 cash or $500,000 bond and for Heather Franklin at $125,000 cash or $250,000 bond.
John Cameron represented Ernest Franklin, and Michael Trosset represented Heather Franklin at the hearings.
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Apr 09 2017