'Manchester by the Sea' inspired duo to kill son

Malcolm Fuller
April 13, 2017

A prosecutor in a Mount Upton, New York, murder case is pointing the finger at Oscar-winning film Manchester by the Sea.

"Within two hours of that movie playing to this defendant", said Chenango County District Attorney Joseph McBride, "Jeffrey's deceased".

Scientific surveys of fire victims are conducted in the lungs and bronchi for smoke and soot, McBride said, and "this victim did not have any".

He argued that the defendants had watched "Manchester by the Sea", a film that tells the story of a man who accidentally started a fire that ultimately killed his children, on February 28 - two days after the movie's star Casey Affleck won the Oscar for best actor and director Kenneth Lonegran took home the Oscar for best original screenplay.

Mid-way through the grim meditation on grief that is Oscar victor Manchester by the Sea, an accidental fire rages through a New England home, killing three young children. Heather Franklin, he alleged, had complained about the problems on Facebook leading up to the deadly night. On the night that Jeffrey died, the couple had just returned from watching Manchester by the Sea.

Jeffrey Franklin was found dead after the fire. "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.

But the prosecution says evidence shows she did not visit the aisle in those stores where the medication was stocked.

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McBride said Ernest Franklin was "very calm, cool, collected and pointed to the room where Jeffrey was lying, and the defendant had no physical injuries from any attempt to save him".

Heather Franklin's attorney refutes the allegations against her, saying his client is innocent until proven guilty.

Chandler is told he can't be prosecuted for the childrens' death because the fire was accidental.

He added the state was "charging her with murder without even knowing what caused the death".

Mrs Franklin - who is now pregnant - told investigators that she visited two shops looking for a specific medication that night. She already lost one child to a miscarriage a year and a half ago. "She deserves to be let free and work toward defending herself", her attorney said.

Ernest Franklin II, 35, and Heather Franklin, 33, were charged with second-degree murder, third-degree 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.

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