Father Sentenced For Murder Of Son And Arson

By: Tyler Murphy

Father sentenced for murder of son and arson (Photo by Tyler Murphy)

NORWICH– Ernest Franklin was convicted of murdering his adopted and disabled teen son, and then starting a fire to cover it up. He was sentenced to 21 years to life in state prison Monday in Chenango County Court.

Prosecutors said Franklin planned and carried out the murder with his wife, Heather Franklin. Following her husband's jury trial and conviction, she accepted a guilty plea to manslaughter. Her plea deal will likely sentence her to between 7 and 11 years in prison with 10 years of probation. She will be required to sign a waiver of appeal.

District Attorney Michael Ferrarese said the victim, Jeffery, was a 16-year-old boy, placed in various foster homes for most of his life.

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“He was abused and neglected prior to being adopted by this defendant and his wife,” the DA told the court.

“We also note, they adopted Jeffrey after being made aware that he was deaf and he had behavioral issues,” said Ferrarese, “Even after being made aware of those issues they elected to go forward and adopt Jeffrey, because they, like many married couples, they wanted to have a child and they were encountering problems achieving pregnancy.”

The DA said the victim was deaf and could not speak, and needed a loving and nurturing environment.

“He entered a vastly different environment, one of abuse, neglect and isolation, that last for years until his murder February 28, 2017,” said Ferrarese.

The DA said the victim was systematically isolated from those who would report abuse, including his parents' decision to home school him. The DA said they wanted him away from officials who would notice.

“This defendant and his wife both played roles in the murder of Jeffery. Different roles but make no mistake, they killed their son Jeffrey because he was difficult, tough to handle, and most importantly they were finally pregnant with their own biological child,” said Ferrarese.

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