According to Chenango County District Attorney Joseph McBride, Earnest and Heather Franklin murdered their 16-year-old adoptive son Jeffrey within two hours of watching the Oscar-winning movie.
The Franklins are charged with second-degree murder, arson and tampering with physical evidence.
According to court transcripts released by WBNG-TV, the New York prosecutor told the judge that “the defendant and her husband, co-defendant, were at home with Jeffrey on the night of February 28th.
“That night, according to this defendant, she watched a movie called Manchester by the Sea,” Mr McBride told the New York judge.
“The main character in that movie kills his children by an accidental fire and is told in the movie that you can’t be prosecuted for accidentally killing your children,” he added.
Heather and Earnest Franklin adopted Jeffrey, a special needs child, in 2012 and, according to the prosecutor, the child was “a handful”, with “bowel and urine control issues”.
Heather Franklin is now pregnant with another child and her attorney says she is “innocent until proven guilty”.
“She’s a high-risk pregnancy. She already lost one child to a miscarriage a year and a half ago. She deserves to be let free and work toward defending herself,” her attorney said.
The couple are accused of killing Jeffrey and burning down their house.
If convicted, both of the Franklins face up to 25 years to life in prison.