This is beyond appalling.
The fact is that a 16-year-old boy from upstate New York is dead. The prosecutor’s allegation is that the parents of that teen watched the movie “Manchester by the Sea,” got inspired by the horrific plotline, murdered their adopted son with special needs, then tried to cover it up with a fire.
Norwich, N.Y. news station WBNG reported from the transcript of the recent bail review for Heather Franklin, 33, and Ernest Franklin II, 35, charged with murder, arson, and tampering with physical evidence in the death of Jeffrey Franklin, 16.
According to the transcript, District Attorney Joseph McBride told the judge the Franklins adopted Jeffrey, a foster child with special needs, in 2012. His needs were said to be a “handful” for the parents, in that he had “bowel issues and he had urine control issues” and that was said to put “a very big strain in the family relationship,” and Heather Franklin complained on Facebook about the strain that was putting on her.
So, to free themselves from this burden, they allegedly killed him.
Spoiler alert: Spoilers from the plot of “Manchester by the Sea” after this point.
“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.”
Heather Franklin reportedly told police she went to a couple of stores looking for a certain drug, and that’s why she wasn’t at home. Prosecutors claimed to have evidence showing she didn’t go to the aisles that had the drug in either store.
For the husband’s part, Ernest Franklin claimed that the fire was started at his house accidentally when his wife happened to be out shopping (just like Casey Affleck’s character in “Manchester by the Sea”) and he happened to leave the dogs outside.
As McBride put it:
“No one else was left in the house, and [Ernest Franklin], with all due respect, was not injured in any way trying to save the alleged — the victim in this particular case. […] There was evidence at the time that the police arrived, the defendant 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 try to save him. It later turned out, Judge, that after the examination of the — of the victim’s body, it was determined that the victim was killed before the fire and that there were no natural causes.”
The prosecutor alleged that, based on evidence, Jeffrey Franklin didn’t have any smoke or soot in his mouth, trachea, or bronchi, which would be present if he had died in a fire.
According to WBNG, no trial date has been set at this point.
You can’t blame “Manchester by the Sea” for this, but it does show how disturbed minds can find “inspiration” for their (alleged) evil deeds just about anywhere, including in a heartbreaking Oscar-winning movie.