As current district attorney departs after winning election, defense raises issue with evidence in the case now delayed until 2019
By Tyler Murphy
NORWICH – The case against a Guilford couple, charged with murder and arson over the death of their disabled son, stalled Wednesday morning after an apparent critical issue caused a last-minute delay.
The setback led to the dismissal of scores of prospective jurors, who were summoned to appear by 9 a.m. by the Chenango County Court.
An official at an early morning court conference, who asked not to be named, said the case was delayed because many in the jury may have voted for District Attorney Joseph McBride in the recent election, and that could create a challenge when selecting a jury.
Ernest Franklin II, 36, and Heather Franklin, 34, both of Guilford, are accused of committing second-degree murder and third degree arson and will be tried separately. If convicted they face 25 years to life in prison. Ermest Franklin's trial was due to start this week.
The case has received national coverage. Prosecutors alleged the couple carried out the slaying after being inspired by a similar plot in an Oscar-winning film, “Manchester by the Sea,” that the couple had allegedly watched a few hours before the fire.