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Couple Accused of Murdering Son With Special Needs and Burning Down Their House

Ernest and Heather Franklin are accused of killing their adopted son, Jeffrey who had autism and was deaf. After murdering the mentally-disabled Jeffrey, the couples allegedly burned their trailer house to cover up the crime.

Parents accused of killing Jeffrey


According to a transcript received by WBNG, Jeffrey, 16, was already dead before the trailer was set on fire. His autopsy reports say that there is no soot or smoke in the teen’s respiratory system, which is a classic characteristic of a person who died from suffocation or in a fire. There is no confirmation as to the cause of Jeffrey’s death to date.

It was March 1, when the incident happened. At around 1:15 AM, the Franklin’s trailer house was set ablaze. Investigators say that the fire was caused by a wood stove the family used to heat their house.

Couples allegedly murdered their son Jeffrey


Heather narrated to the police officials that she went shopping at Price Chopper and then to Wal-Mart before the fire started. However, prosecutors reported he had proof that Heather never went to the said stores that night. Ernest, on the other hand, said that he accidentally left the heater open and went outside with their dogs, leaving Jeffrey alone in the trailer.

Chenago County District Attorney Joseph McBride said that the couple’s narrations were rather implausible. One reason McBride laid out to the judge was that Ernest didn’t have any wounds or injuries trying to save Jeffrey who was inside the burning house. There is also literally no one except for the teen inside the house. Even their animals are outside. McBride also said that Ernest was ‘very calm, cool, collected and pointed to the room where Jeffrey was lying.’

The murder, however, was an interesting case, according to McBride. She continued by saying, “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.”

Manchester by the Sea inspired couple to kill Jeffrey


Heather is also pregnant and their attorney demanded that the woman should be let free because she has a high-risk pregnancy.

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