Fourth Estate Staff
Chenango County, NY, United States (4E) – A New York couple is alleged of killing their special needs adoptive son and that the award-winning movie “Manchester by the Sea” played a part in inspiring them to commit the crime.
The couple was identified as 35-year-old Ernest Franklin and 33-year-old Heather Franklin. They reportedly killed their adoptive son, 16-year-old Jeffrey Franklin, just two hours after they watched “Manchester by the Sea.” They also set their home on fire in order to conceal the killing. They were charged with second-degree murder, arson and tampering with physical evidence.
In the movie “Manchester by the Sea,” the character of Casey Affleck, Lee Chandler, accidentally set his home on fire. The incident resulted to his three children’s death. The character was not prosecuted because the fire was found out to be accidental.
Chenango County District Attorney Joseph McBride said, “She (Heather Franklin) inexplicably left the house, driving around Chenango County and Delaware County, and doesn’t return until the fire totally engulfs the house.” She said that she went to two stores looking for a certain product and she drove around town from 11:30 p.m. until 2:30 a.m. Ernest, on the other hand, told authorities he chased their dogs when the fire began. Police later found out that they did not have pets at home.
Before the house was set on fire, Heather took to Facebook to complain about the bowel issues and bladder control problems of Jeffrey. An autopsy also determined that Jeffrey died before the fire started. The cause of death, however, was not determined due to the damage in the body of the teenager.
Heather is now pregnant but it is unclear how far she is along. She is determined to be under the high-risk pregnancy category. She suffered from her first miscarriage more than a year ago.
If they are found guilty of the crimes, they face up to 25 years behind bars. They are held at the Chenango County Jail.
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