Heather Franklin, 33, and Ernest Franklin II, 35, of Mount Upton, New York, have been charged with murdering their adopted 16-year-old special needs child. Details have now emerged that they murdered the boy after watching Manchester By The Sea just hours before.
Reportedly inspired by Casey Affleck’s character, who accidentally killed his child in a house fire, the Franklins have been charged with second-degree murder, arson, and tampering with physical evidence after they murdered their son Jeffrey ‘JR’ Franklin out of frustration with the boy’s bowel and bladder control issues.
Responders arrived at the scene of the fire around 1:15 A.M. on March 1 at the family’s home near the town of Mount Upton, which is about 5o miles southeast of Syracuse. Investigators concluded the fire was caused by a wood stove.
“Judge, this is a very interesting case,” McBride said, according to the transcript. “We have two parents who adopted a special needs foster child in approximately 2012. The evidence before The Court and the evidence in this matter shows that Jeffrey was a handful, that he had bowel issues and he had urine control issues, and I believe in our attachments to my response to the Defendant’s Order to Show Cause, we’ve set out that 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 continued, stating, “Judge, in this particular case, the defendant and her husband, co-defendant, were at home with Jeffrey on the night of February 28th. That night, according to this defendant, she watched a movie called Manchester by the Sea. And in that movie, Judge, the main character in that movie kills his children by an accidental fire and is told in the movie that you can’t be prosecuted for accidentally killing your children, and within two hours of that movie playing to this defendant and her husband, Jeffrey’s deceased. She inexplicably left the house, driving around Chenango County and Delaware County, and doesn’t return until the fire totally engulfs the house.”
McBride said that had Jeffery died as a result of a fire, either smoke or soot would be present in his mouth, trachea, or bronchi. None of those were present.
Ernest is being held on $250,000 cash or $500,000 bond, and Heather is being held on $125,000 or $250,000 bond. If convicted, both face 25 years to life in prison. Ernest Franklin was still being held at the Chenango County Jail as of Monday, April 10.