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Couple Kill Disabled, Adopted Son With Inspiration from ‘Manchester by the Sea’

Keely Sharp
Written by Keely Sharp

This is not a Lifetime trailer. I repeat, this is NOT a Lifetime trailer! A duo in New York made a decision to kill their disabled, adopted son, which is absolutely heartbreaking. However, then they proceeded to set the house on fire in an attempt to cover it up. According to their prosecutor, they made this plan after watching “Manchester by the Sea.”

“Manchester by the Sea” tells the story of a man who accidently sets a fire that kills his children. He wasn’t prosecuted. During the Academy Awards ceremony on Feb. 26, Casey Affleck won the Oscar for best actor for his portrayal of the man’s brother, while director Kenneth Lonegran took home an Oscar for best original screenplay.

The 16-year-old boy, Jeffrey Franklin, was killed within TWO HOURS of his parents watching the movie. Two days later, the movie won best original screenplay in the Academy Awards.

The couple have been charged with second-degree murder, arson, and tampering with evidence.

Michael Trosset, Heather Franklin’s attorney, told the court that she’s “innocent until proven guilty.” A message left with her husband’s public defender, John Cameron, wasn’t immediately returned Wednesday.

Officials said the fire was reported around 1:15 a.m. March 1 at the family’s home in the rural town of Guilford, 55 miles (88 kilometers) southeast of Syracuse.

Ernest Franklin, 35, pointed out the room where the teen was lying when police arrived on the scene, authorities said. Officials have said the son had mental and physical disabilities.

The father told police he was away from the house chasing down the family’s dogs when the fire started, officials said. Meanwhile, Heather Franklin, 33, claimed to have gone to two stores seeking a certain product while driving around from 11:30 p.m. until about 2:30 a.m., when she returned home, authorities said.

An autopsy determined that Jeffrey Franklin was already dead by the time the fire started, McBride said.

“The victim was badly burned,” McBride said during the hearing. “Because of the damage to the body by the fire, the pathologist is not able to determine the cause of death.”

Bail was set at $250,000 cash for Ernest Franklin and $125,000 cash for Heather Franklin. Neither had posted bail Wednesday.

These people are mentally ill! They need to be locked up for the rest of their lives! That  poor boy was only 16! My heart goes out to him and those who loved him, because obviously his guardians didn’t.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

About the author

Keely Sharp

Keely Sharp

Keely is a 23-year-old conservative writer for many different sites, including While she lives in Georgia, she grew up in Florida. Keely is pro-life, Christian, and a member of the NRA. When she is not writing, she enjoys going to the range and hiking with her dogs.

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