'Manchester by the Sea' Inspired Duo To Kill Son
Hours after watching "Manchester by the Sea" on February 28, Ernest Franklin II and Heather Franklin murdered their teenage son and started a fire to cover up his death, said Chenango County District Attorney James McBride during a bail hearing for the couple.
McBride said examinations of Jeffrey's body found that he'd inhaled no smoke, indicating he died prior to the fire.
"Manchester by the Sea" tells the story of a man who accidentally sets a house fire that kills his children and isn't prosecuted.
Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams played a divorced couple in "Manchester by the Sea" who had lost their children in a fire. Jeffrey Franklin, the couple's adopted son, was 16 years old.
"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", McBride said, according to CBS News.
Two hours later, Jeffrey was dead. "She inexplicably left the house, driving around Chenango County and Delaware County, and doesn't return until the fire totally engulfs the house".
Heather Franklin told police she went to the Price Chopper in Sidney and then the Norwich Wal-Mart looking for a certain prescription drug, according to the transcript. "No one else was left in the house, and the defendant, with all due respect, was not injured in any way trying to save the alleged - the victim in this particular case", McBride said at the bail hearing.
McBride told the court that the defendant was very calm when police arrived and pointed to the room where Jeffrey was lying. "Because of the damage to the body by the fire, the pathologist is not able to determine the cause of death".
Cameron said the cause of Jeffrey's death is unknown and "to say he was killed is a stretch". Neither had posted bail Wednesday.
Heather Franklin is now in a high-risk pregnancy, her lawyer claimed at the hearing, asking that she be released. "She deserves to be let free and work toward defending herself". (Chenango County Sheriff's Department/WBNG News via AP) This undated photo provided by the Chenango County Sherriffs Office shows Ernest Franklin.
The couple has been charged with second-degree murder, arson and tampering with physical evidence.
A judge set Ernest Franklin's bail at $250,000 cash and his wife's at $125,000 cash.
The Franklins could face up to 25 years if convicted. However, as of Tuesday night, the defendants remained in Chenango County jail.