According to a prosecutor, couple Ernest and Heather Franklin were inspired to burn their house down and kill their 16-year-old disabled adopted son Jeffrey after they went to see the Oscar-winning drama “Manchester by the Sea,” which picked up the Academy Awards for Best Actor (#Casey Affleck, a whole other can of worms) and Best Original Screenplay (Kenneth Lonegran, who also directed the film) and focuses on a man who accidentally burns his house down, killing his children..
A report from The Guardian claims that the Franklins have been charged with #Murder in the second degree, as well as arson and tampering with physical evidence. Joseph McBride, the District Attorney of Chenango County, alleges that the couple saw “Manchester by the Sea” and then “within two hours” of the end credits rolling, “Jeffrey’s deceased.”
16-year-old was killed two days after Oscars, two hours after film ended
The murder took place on 28 February, two days after the Oscars ceremony recommended films to everyone, including double-winner “Manchester by the Sea.” So, McBride accuses the Franklins of going to see the #Film because the Oscars said so, and then getting the idea of how to cover up their son’s murder, going home, killing him, and then burning the house down to make it look like the fire did it.
Surely it would be easier to cover up, though, if they just used the fire to kill their son.
This scheme is too elaborate, and much easier to see through. If Jeffrey died in the fire, he died in the fire. But kill him before the fire and the autopsy will show he died before the fire and suspicions will be raised, and that’s exactly what happened here. It’s not quite life imitating art, because in the art in question, “Manchester by the Sea,” the guy who kills his family regrets doing it and feels remorse and did it by accident, none of which are the case here.
Heather Franklin’s attorney, Michael Trosset, says she is “innocent until proven guilty,” which is phrased in a way that suggests that she will eventually be proven guilty, she just hasn’t yet. McBride says that, unfortunately (and this is where Heather’s plan is actually pretty good), the fire damage to Jeffrey’s body is making it difficult for pathologists “to determine the cause of death.” By the way, the aforementioned can of worms involving “Manchester by the Sea” star Casey Affleck is the praise he’s been receiving for his performance despite a history of sexual assault allegations, but it’s very murky waters so we’ll see.