Prosecutor: Couple killed disabled son after watching ‘Manchester by the Sea’

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NORWICH, N.Y. — A New York couple are accused of killing their disabled son and setting their house on fire to cover up the crime after watching “Manchester by the Sea.”

A prosecutor handling the case said the couple were inspired by the Oscar-winning movie, WBNG reported.

In the movie, the main character’s children are killed after a fire he lit in the fireplace spreads to the home.

Prosecutors said Ernest and Heather Franklin killed their adopted son, Jeffrey Franklin, less than two hours after watching the film.

“(T)he 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,” WBNG quoted Chenango County District Attorney Joseph McBride as saying.

The fire at the Franklin family home in Guilford was reported around 1:15 a.m. on March 1.

Ernest and Heather Franklin reportedly told police they were not home when the fire broke out.

An autopsy showed 16-year-old Jeffrey Franklin was already dead when the fire started, but the body was so badly burned that the pathologist was not able to determine the cause of death, WBNG reported.

The Franklins are charged with second-degree murder, arson and tampering with physical evidence.

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