A couple accused of murdering their disabled adopted son are said to have been inspired by a major plot point in Kenneth Lonergan’s Oscar-winning Manchester by the Sea in their ensuing attempt at covering it up, according to their case’s prosecutor.
According to ABC News (via Indiewire), Chenango County District Attorney Joseph McBride said at a bail hearing that Ernest and Heather Franklin killed their 16-year-old son Jeffrey within hours of watching Manchester on February 28. They have been accused of setting fire to their Guilford, NY, house in attempt to conceal their crime. McBride, ABC News says, “noted the Affleck character in the movie is told that you can’t be prosecuted for accidentally killing your children.”
In Manchester, Affleck’s character leaves a fire burning in his house, which results in the death of his two children. Ernest and Heather Franklin both claimed to be away from their house when the fire started. An autopsy confirmed that Jeffrey was already dead when the fire started. His body was so badly burned, according to McBride, that the pathologist could not confirm the cause of death.
Ernest and Heather Franklin have been charged with murder, arson, and tampering with evidence.