Ernest and Heather are charged with murder in the second degree, arson and tampering with physical evidence. "She already lost one child to miscarriage a year and a half ago", her attorney, Michael Trosset, said, adding that she's innocent until proven guilty. Her husband's public defender said it is unclear if the movie was relevant to the event and said his office has hired a forensic pathologist to investigate.
The Oscar-winning Casey Affleck picture is about a man who accidentally kills his children in a house fire. Speaking at the Franklins' bail hearing, McBride pointed out that in the film Manchester by the Sea, Casey Affleck's character, Lee Chandler, discovers he can not be charged for the murder of his three children because the fire in his house was set by accident.
McBride, the prosecutor, noted the Affleck character in the movie is told that you can't be prosecuted for accidentally killing your children.
"She (Heather Franklin) inexplicably left the house, driving around Chenango County and Delaware County, and doesn't return until the fire totally engulfs the house", McBride said at the hearing, according to recently released court transcripts.
Police arrived at the Syracuse home in the early hours of March 1, where Ernest Franklin was able to lead them to the room where his son's body was located. Officials have said the son had mental and physical disabilities.
Mr Franklin, 35, said he had been outside chasing his dogs when the fire occurred.
McBride said that Heather Franklin drove around from 11:30 p.m. February 28 until 2 or 2:30 a.m., when she returned to the residence.
The couple are accused of starting a fire to cover up the murder, with McBride stating that an autopsy showed Jeffrey had died before the fire.
"There was a very big strain in the family relationship because of Jeffrey's special needs and that this defendant was complaining on Facebook about the strain that that was putting on her", said Mr McBride.
"It later turned out, Judge, that after the examination of the - of the victim's body, it was determined that the victim was killed before the fire and that there were no natural causes".
Ernest Franklin's bail was set at $250,000 and his wife's at $125,000. Neither had posted bail Wednesday.
Heather Franklin left the house southeast of Syracuse that evening and drove around Chenango and DE counties and did not return until her home was engulfed in flames, the prosecutors said.
A U.S. couple are accused of murdering their adopted disabled son and razing the house to cover up the crime after watching movie Manchester by the Sea.