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Oscar Winning Film ‘Manchester By The Sea’ Inspired Real Life Murder of Disabled Boy, DA Says


The Oscar-winning movie “Manchester by the Sea” allegedly inspired a couple to kill their disabled adopted son and attempt to cover it up by setting the house ablaze, Chenango County District Attorney Joseph McBride said during a recent bail hearing.

According to the Associated PressErnest and Heather Franklin appeared at the hearing last week, accused of killing their 16-year-old son Jeffrey Franklin.  The plan was allegedly hatched within two hours of the couple watching the film that won an Oscar for Best Actor and Best Original Screenplay in February. The prosecutor told the judge they believed the teenager died before the fire was set.

An attorney for Heather Franklin reminded the court that her client is “innocent until proven guilty. Ernest Franklin’s public defender has not spoken publicly.

Nonetheless, the couple is charged with with second-degree murder, arson and tampering with physical evidence. Bond is set at $250,000 for Earnest and $125,00 for Heather.

McBride described the victim as being found so badly burned, the coroner was unable to determine cause of death.

The fire occurred back on March 1 and Earnest pointed authorities to the room of the young boy, where he was found dead.  Both parents claimed to be away from the home at the time the fire started.

The movie at the center of of the case is about a man who accidentally sets a fire that kills his children. However, he was not prosecuted in the screenplay. Casey Affleck did win an Academy Award for Best Actor.

[image via Chenango County]

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