Fire Investigator Questioned About Missing Report Details

By: Zachary Meseck

Fire investigator questioned about missing report details The Franklin murder trial continued Friday with a cross examination of a Chenango County fire investigator. (Zachary Meseck photo)

NORWICH – The cross examination of a Chenango County Bureau of Fire investigator began in the Franklin murder trial Friday, with the defense questioning different aspects of the county’s fire investigation, including missing details from reports, a lack of fire scene protection, and when – or if – fire investigators determined it to be intentional.

Ernest Franklin II, 36, is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree arson, and tampering with physical evidence.

Prosecutors say at around midnight on March 1, 2017 Ernest Franklin and Heather Franklin worked together to kill their 16-year-old disabled son Jeffrey Franklin and burn the evidence at their home at 457 State Route 8 in the Town of Guilford.

After completing his direct examination the day before, Chenango County Bureau of Fire Investigator Kavin Winton endured a cross-examination by Defense Attorney Victoria Gorman Friday morning.

In her cross-examination of Winton, Gorman asked questions about when the fire was ruled as an incendiary fire, if it was ever labeled as an incendiary fire in his reports, and how the scene of the fire was protected from March 1, 2017 and March 4, 2017.

On Thursday, Winton said an incendiary fire is a fire that is intentionally set by a person.

“Investigator, just to be clear, you can’t tell me when you ruled this as an incendiary fire, can you?” asked Gorman. “There isn’t a specific date between March 1 and today that you came to that conclusion, is there?”

Winton responded that he saw indications of the fire being intentionally set on March 1, but didn’t note that it was an incendiary fire at that time because the investigation was ongoing, and that when he was ready to classify it as an incendiary fire, an indictment had already been filed against him.



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