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Ernest Franklin files complaints against authorities, public defenders

NORWICH (WBNG) – A Chenango County man accused of killing his adopted son and setting fire to the home is claiming he is being mistreated.

Franklin filed four complaints in federal court: one on July 5, one on July 25 and two on August 1. The first is against Chenango County Sheriff Ernest Cutting, Chenango County Jail Administrator Chris Miles and the town of Norwich.

It alleges he was subjected to sleeping on concrete with a mattress only about one-inch thick and that he had several injuries that were not being looked after. Franklin also claims every attempt to address the concern was denied by numerous staff members and also says his constitutional rights were violated.

Another complaint, levied against the New York State Commission of Corrections, claims the jail is sometimes is unlivable, citing that corrections officers occasionally give out the wrong medication to inmates.

The court papers aimed at the Chenango County Public Defenders’ Office allege attorneys did not represent him to their fullest ability.

Chenango County Sheriff Ernest Cutting told 12 News he had not yet seen the complaint, but said another mattress could have been given to him upon request.

When asked about the complaint, Chenango County Public Defender Zack Wentworth, who’s listed in one of the complaints, said the office stands by its representation of Ernest Franklin.

Our request for a comment from the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision was not immediately returned.

Combined, the four complaints seek $50 million in compensation, as well as injunctions against the defendants.

Franklin and his wife Heather are both charged with arson and murder in connection to the death of their adopted, special-needs son, Jeffrey.

Both are suspected of killing Jeffrey before setting fire to their Guilford home in March 2017.

Ernest Franklin’s trial had been scheduled to begin in June, but was delayed until November after issues came up about testimony from an expert. 

Prosecutors say the pair committed the crimes after watching “Manchester by the Sea,” a movie in which the main character kills his children in an accidental fire and is told he cannot be prosecuted for the accidental death of children.


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