Boy’s death mimicked movie scene, lawyer says
NORWICH, N.Y.— A couple decided 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 New York prosecutor handling the case.
Chenango County District Attorney Joseph McBride said during a bail hearing for Ernest and Heather Franklin last week that Jeffrey Franklin, 16, was killed within two hours of the couple watching the film on Feb. 28, two days after the movie won Academy Awards for best actor and best original screenplay. McBride said an examination showed the teen died before the fire.
The Franklins are charged with second-degree murder, arson and tampering with physical evidence.
Manchester by the Seatells the story of a man who accidentally sets a fire that kills his children. He wasn’t prosecuted.
“Within two hours of that movie playing to this defendant and her husband, Jeffrey’s deceased,” McBride said.
Officials said the fire was reported about 1:15 a.m. March 1at the family’s home in Guilford, N.Y.
An autopsy determined that Jeffrey Franklin was already dead by the time the fire started, McBride said.
“The victim was badly burned,” McBride said during the hearing. “Because of the damage to the body by the fire, the pathologist is not able to determine the cause of death.”
Ernest and Heather Franklin were charged with second-degree murder in the death of their son.