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Trial begins for man charged with killing son, setting fire

A murder trial is underway in central New York for a man accused along with his wife of killing their adopted teenage son and burning their house to cover it up.

Ernest Franklin is charged with murder and arson in the March 2017 death of 16-year-old Jeffrey Franklin, who had several disabilities. Prosecutors say the crime was inspired by the movie “Manchester by the Sea,” where a father accidentally starts a fire that kills his children.

In her opening statement Wednesday, Franklin’s lawyer said the prosecutor’s theory of a murder scheme was too “sophisticated” for a “salt of the earth” person like Franklin.

She also disputed autopsy report conclusions.

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