Mt. Upton Man Convicted of Murdering Autistic, Adopted Son
An appeal is expected after a Chenango County jury took a surprisingly short amount of time to find a Mount Upton man guilty of murdering his adopted, special-needs son and setting fire to their home to cover up the killing.
37-year-old Ernest Franklin II was convicted March 8 after only a few hours of deliberation.
He, along with his wife, Heather were charged in the death of 16-year-old Jeffrey March 1, 2017. Prosecutors say they were inspired after watching the movie “Manchester by the Sea” to set the fire to cover up the killing. In the movie, the main character finds he can’t be prosecuted for murder in the death of his children in a fire he accidentally started.
Franklin and his wife were accused of killing their adopted son who was physically and mentally disabled before the fire was reported at their mobile home on State Highway 8.
The defense argued it was impossible to hatch a complicated plan for murder and coverup within a half hour of the couple watching the film.
The jury was charged with the case in the morning and deliberated only a few hours before delivering a verdict of guilty for murder, arson and evidence tampering in the afternoon.
Franklin faces 25 years to life in prison. 35-year-old Heather Franklin has yet to stand trial.