Boy’s death mim­icked movie scene, lawyer says

Toronto Star - - NEWS -

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.

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