Disturbing new details emerge in death of Mount Upton teen - WBNG.com: Binghamton-area News, Weather, Sports

Disturbing new details emerge in death of Mount Upton teen

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NORWICH, N.Y. (WBNG) -- New details have emerged in the murder case of 16-year-old Jeffrey Franklin of Mount Upton. His adoptive parents, Ernest Franklin II, 35, and Heather Franklin, 33 are accused of killing him and then burning their own house down on the night of February 28. 

On Friday, both Franklins were in Chenango County Court for a bail review. Ernest Franklin II is being held on $250,000 cash or $500,000 bond. Heather Franklin is being held on $125,000 or $250,000 bond.

During the bail review, Chenango County District Attorney Joseph McBride laid out what he and police believe happened the night of February 28, starting with Heather Franklin.

"Judge, this is a very interesting case," McBride said, according to the transcript. "We have two parents who adopted a special needs foster child in approximately 2012. The evidence before The Court and the evidence in this matter shows that Jeffrey was a handful, that he had bowel issues and he had urine control issues, and I believe in our attachments to my response to the Defendant's Order to Show Cause, we've set out that 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."

McBride continued, stating, "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."

According to the transcript, McBride said Heather Franklin told police she went to the Price Chopper in Sidney and then the Norwich Wal-Mart looking for a certain drug. The prosecution believes it has evidence showing Franklin never went to the aisle in either store where the drug was located.

Heather Franklin is also pregnant with another child.

"She is innocent until proven guilty," said Heather Franklin's attorney. "We will post reasonable amount of bail and she will stay in this county and she will be able to care for her child in her womb. She's a high-risk pregnancy. She already lost one child to a miscarriage a year and a half ago. She deserves to be let free and work toward defending herself."

Heather Franklin was still being held at the Chenango County Jail as of Monday.

The prosecution on Friday then addressed the case against Ernest Franklin.

"With regard to this case, the defendant (Ernest Franklin) is charged with murder in the second degree," McBride said, according to the transcript. "(Ernest) claims that a fire was started at his house accidentally when his wife happened to be shopping and he happened to leave the dogs out. There were no animals found in the house. No one else was left in the house, and the defendant, with all due respect, was not injured in any way trying to save the alleged -- the victim in this particular case."

McBride would continue, saying "There was evidence at the time that the police arrived, the defendant was very calm, cool, collected and pointed to the room where Jeffrey was lying and the defendant had no physical injuries from any attempt to try to save him. 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."

McBride would go on to say that based on scientific evidence, Jeffrey did not have any smoke or soot in his mouth, trachea or bronchi. He said if someone died as a result of a fire, those would be present.

Related: Bail amount set for Chenango County parents charged in son's killing

Ernest Franklin was still being held at the Chenango County Jail as of Monday as well.

If convicted, both of the Franklins face up to 25 years to life in prison. The two were indicted on charges of murder, arson and tampering with physical evidence on March 28.

No trial date has been set.

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