Testimony is getting started in the murder trial of a Guilford man accused of acting with his wife to murder their adopted, special-needs son and then setting their home in rural Chenango County on fire in 2017.

Kathy Whyte/ WNBF News

Ernest Franklin II is charged with murder and arson in the death of 16-year-old Jeffrey Franklin in a case that has been dubbed “the Movie Murder” since prosecutors claimed the couple was inspired to set the fire as a coverup after watching the film: Manchester by the Sea.

Prosecutors claim the Franklins were overwhelmed taking care of their son, who was non-communicative, deaf and had disorders on the autism spectrum.  They claim the couple was inspired after watching the movie in which the troubled main character is told he can’t be tried for the death of his children after accidently starting a fire.

During opening statements February 27, Franklin’s lawyer said the plot was too “sophisticated” for her client to dream up.

Firefighters responding to the Franklin’s double-wide mobile home on a secluded dirt road almost two years ago found the structure fully engulfed in flames. The teen’s body was found inside but investigators later said the boy was killed before the fire started.

The blaze was said to have originated in a wood stove but the exact causes of the fire and the boy’s death have not been released.