Adoptive parents were allegedly inspired by 'Manchester by the Sea' to kill their son with special needs
Disturbing allegations emerged against a couple who have been accused of killing their adopted teenage son with special needs.
Ernest Franklin II, 35, and Heather Franklin, 33, allegedly set their New York home on fire to cover up the death of 16-year-old Jeffrey Franklin in March.
According to Chenango County District Attorney Joseph McBride, the couple hatched the plan hours after watching the film "Manchester by the Sea" with their son on February 28, INSIDE EDITION reports.
"In that movie ... 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," McBride said, according to transcripts obtained by WBNG. "Within two hours of that movie playing to this defendant and her husband, Jeffrey's deceased."
McBride said that Heather Franklin, who is pregnant, inexplicably left the family home and drove around until a fire intentionally set by her husband engulfed Jeffrey's body.
See photos from the story:
The Franklins have been charged with second-degree murder, arson and tampering with physical evidence, according to INSIDE EDITION.
"[Ernest Franklin] claims that a fire was started at his house accidentally when his wife happened to be shopping and he happened to leave the dogs out. There were no animals found in the house. No one else was left in the house, and the defendant, with all due respect, was not injured in any way trying to save the alleged — the victim in this particular case," McBride said at the bail hearing.
McBride said that examinations revealed Jeffrey did not inhale any smoke, which indicates that he died before the fire. The lawyer also said the couple killed Jeffrey because of the strain his special needs put on the family.
"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," McBride said.
Both Ernest and Heather Franklin pleaded not guilty, and both are being held on bond at Chenango County Jail.
Heather Franklin's attorney refutes the allegations against her, saying his client is innocent until proven guilty.
"We will post reasonable amount of bail and she will stay in this county and she will be able to care for her child in her womb. She's a high-risk pregnancy. She already lost one child to a miscarriage a year and a half ago. She deserves to be let free and work toward defending herself," the attorney said.