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Mom accused of murder posts bail; husband still jailed


ANTHONY BORRELLI   | aborrelli@pressconnects.com | @PSBABorrelli

A Chenango County woman accused, along with her husband, of killing their son and setting a fire to cover it up has been released from jail while awaiting a murder prosecution.

Heather Franklin, 33, was released from the Chenango County jail around 8:32 p.m. Saturday after bail was posted, according to records. She had been jailed on $125,000 bail after being charged in connection with the Feb. 28 death of Jeffrey Franklin, 16, whose body was found after firefighters extinguished a blaze at their Town of Guilford residence.

Ernest Franklin, 35, remains in custody at the county jail with $250,000 bail set. Both defendants have been indicted on felony counts of second-degree murder, arson and tampering with physical evidence.

If convicted of the murder charges, both defendants could face 25 years to life in state prison. Both defendants have pleaded not guilty.

The couple got the idea to kill their son after watching the Oscar-winning movie “Manchester by the Sea,” according to Chenango County District Attorney Joseph McBride.

During a bail hearing, McBride said Jeffrey Franklin was killed within two hours of the couple watching the film, two days after the movie won Academy Awards for best actor and best original screenplay.

McBride said an examination showed the teen died before the fire.

“Manchester by the Sea” tells the story of a man who accidentally sets a fire that kills his children. He wasn’t prosecuted.

“Within two hours of that movie playing to this defendant and her husband, Jeffrey’s deceased,” McBride said during a bail hearing. “The victim was badly burned. Because of the damage to the body by the fire, the pathologist is not able to determine the cause of death.”

Ernest Franklin told police he was away from the house chasing down the family’s dogs when the fire started, prosecutors said.

Meanwhile, prosecutors say, Heather Franklin 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.

Officials said the fire was reported around 1:15 a.m. March 1 at the family’s home in the rural town of Guilford, 50 miles northeast of Binghamton.

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.

On Twitter: @PSBABorrelli

2017 Apr 24