Quantcast

Lawyer: New Jersey dad doesn't deny tossing his 2-year-old daug - abc27 WHTM

Lawyer: New Jersey dad doesn't deny tossing his 2-year-old daughter into creek

Posted: Updated:
Arthur Morgan III is charged with killing his 2-year-old daughter by tossing her into a creek while still strapped into her car seat.(AP Photo/Ocean County Prosecutor's Office, File) Arthur Morgan III is charged with killing his 2-year-old daughter by tossing her into a creek while still strapped into her car seat.(AP Photo/Ocean County Prosecutor's Office, File)

FREEHOLD, N.J. (AP) — The lawyer for a man charged with killing his 2-year-old daughter by tossing her into a creek while still strapped into her car seat said Wednesday the real question for the jury is not whether he did it but whether he was thinking clearly that night.

Arthur Morgan III of Eatontown is accused of weighing down the seat with a tire-changing jack so it would sink. He is charged with killing his daughter, Tierra Morgan-Glover, in what prosecutors claim was a premeditated, jealous rage because the girl's mother would not get back together with him.

The child's body was found partially submerged in a creek at a Jersey shore park on Nov. 22, 2011, one tiny black and purple sneaker sticking out of the water.

In his opening statement, defense attorney Ryan Moriarty told the jurors their task is to decide "what form of homicide applies to this defendant."

"We're not asking you to presume Arthur Morgan innocent of responsibility," he said. "It is our contention that he did not act knowingly and purposefully on that day but, rather, recklessly. Can your ability to think clearly be affected by lack of sleep, losing your job, staying in your car? By homelessness, by the end of a major relationship in your life?"

It matters in terms of the sentence he could receive. If convicted of "knowing and purposeful" murder, Morgan could be sent to prison for life without the possibility of parole. If convicted of a lesser charge, such as reckless manslaughter, he could get a sentence with the possibility of parole in as little as five years.

"Was Tierra thrown off a bridge, or was she placed there, still alive, for God to determine the outcome?" Moriarty said.

Assistant Monmouth County Prosecutor Jordan Williams told the jury that Morgan was driven by extreme jealousy and anger toward the girl's mother, Imani Benton. She had refused to let him see Tierra the previous weekend because he was homeless and living in his car, Williams told the jury.

And Morgan suspected Benton had a new boyfriend, Williams said.

Despite her initial reluctance, Benton eventually agreed to let Morgan take Tierra to see "Happy Feet 2," a movie about a dancing penguin. As he drove away with the girl strapped in the pink car seat that Benton had provided, he yelled at Benton, angry over the missed visit and suspicious she was seeing someone else, the prosecutor said.

Instead of taking Tierra to the movies, he drove around for four hours, calling her mother 57 times on a cellphone before making his way to Shark River Park in Wall Township, about 20 miles north of Benton's Lakehurst home.

Authorities say he attached a car jack to the back of her car seat and tossed her into the chilly waters of a creek inside the park. Then he went to a liquor store, bought alcohol for rum and cokes that he downed with a friend and caught a train to begin his escape to San Diego, where he was tracked down and arrested days later by a fugitive task force.

"This is Arthur Morgan," Williams told the jury. "He had a beautiful, adorable daughter. He no longer has a daughter because he decided to kill her. He murdered her by dumping her in a creek. She was just a little girl. He dumped her in that dirty, cold stream and just walked away. She went into that water wide awake, alert and helpless, old enough to know what was happening to her and unable to do anything about it."

The prosecutor said Morgan gave a statement to authorities in San Diego after his capture indicating "he could have done it that way" when asked if he had tossed the child into the creek.

Asked why he attached a tire jack to the car seat, Morgan replied, "To keep her where she was," Williams told the jury.

"Like an anchor?" the detective asked.

"Yeah," Morgan replied, according to police. "Like a ball and chain."

___

Wayne Parry can be reached at http://twitter.com/WayneParryAC

  • Central Alabama NewsMore>>

  • Alabama farmers honored at the White House

    Alabama farmers honored at the White House

    Monday, July 28 2014 5:52 PM EDT2014-07-28 21:52:40 GMT
    Two Alabama farmers are being honored at the White House. Bill Bridgeforth of Tanner and Lee Haynes of Cullman are among 15 people being recognized as "Champions of Change" in Washington on Tuesday. The the Agriculture Department honors people who are empowering and inspiring members of their local communities.Bridgeforth is a fourth-generation farmer in Limestone County. He's also a county chairman of the National Black Growers Association.Haynes is an egg farmer in Cullman County. After gra...More >>
    Two Alabama farmers are being honored at the White House. Bill Bridgeforth of Tanner and Lee Haynes of Cullman are among 15 people being recognized as "Champions of Change" in Washington on Tuesday. The the Agriculture Department honors people who are empowering and inspiring members of their local communities.Bridgeforth is a fourth-generation farmer in Limestone County. He's also a county chairman of the National Black Growers Association.Haynes is an egg farmer in Cullman County. After gra...More >>
  • FAA proposes to fine Southwest Airlines $12M

    FAA proposes to fine Southwest Airlines $12M

    Monday, July 28 2014 3:19 PM EDT2014-07-28 19:19:17 GMT
    The Federal Aviation Administration said Monday it is proposing a $12 million civil fine against Southwest Airlines for failing to comply with safety regulations related to repairs on Boeing 737 jetliners. Beginning in 2006, Southwest made "extreme makeover" alterations to eliminate potential cracking of the aluminum skin on 44 jetliners, the FAA said. An FAA investigation determined that Southwest's contractor, Aviation Technical Services Inc. of Everett, Washington, failed to follow proper ...More >>
    The Federal Aviation Administration said Monday it is proposing a $12 million civil fine against Southwest Airlines for failing to comply with safety regulations related to repairs on Boeing 737 jetliners. Beginning in 2006, Southwest made "extreme makeover" alterations to eliminate potential cracking of the aluminum skin on 44 jetliners, the FAA said. An FAA investigation determined that Southwest's contractor, Aviation Technical Services Inc. of Everett, Washington, failed to follow proper ...More >>
  • Nationwide manhunt for Ozark man accused of kidnapping, sexual assault

    Nationwide manhunt for Ozark man accused of kidnapping, sexual assault

    Sunday, July 27 2014 10:00 PM EDT2014-07-28 02:00:39 GMT
    David PittsDavid Pitts
    A 30 year old woman and 8 year old child are receiving medical treatment after they were kidnapped and sexually assaulted. A nationwide manhunt is now underway for the suspect.More >>
    A 30 year old woman and 8 year old child are receiving medical treatment after they were kidnapped and sexually assaulted. A nationwide manhunt is now underway for the suspect.More >>
  • Birmingham Area NewsMore>>

  • Update: Man arrested after woman doused with gasoline and burned

    Update: Man arrested after woman doused with gasoline and burned

    Monday, July 28 2014 5:57 PM EDT2014-07-28 21:57:16 GMT
    The Jefferson County Sheriff's department is looking for 48 year old Michael Kennedy. He's wanted on several charges after allegedly setting his ex-girlfriend on fire. Just after 2:30 this morning deputies respond to a report of a house fire in the 4400 block of Nellie Anderson Street. They arrived to find a 49 year old female victim with extensive burns to her head, arms, upper body and legs. She was transported to the hospital and admitted to a burn unit in serious condition. Investigators...More >>
    The Jefferson County Sheriff's department is looking for 48 year old Michael Kennedy. He's wanted on several charges after allegedly setting his ex-girlfriend on fire. Just after 2:30 this morning deputies respond to a report of a house fire in the 4400 block of Nellie Anderson Street. They arrived to find a 49 year old female victim with extensive burns to her head, arms, upper body and legs. She was transported to the hospital and admitted to a burn unit in serious condition. Investigators...More >>
  • Update: Body found in bakery truck, no foul play involved

    Update: Body found in bakery truck, no foul play involved

    Monday, July 28 2014 11:28 AM EDT2014-07-28 15:28:15 GMT
    ABC 33/40 has confirmed that the body of 40 year old bakery employee Shane Landrip Caldwell was found in the truck. Police do not believe any foul play was involved.More >>
    ABC 33/40 has confirmed that the body of 40 year old bakery employee Shane Landrip Caldwell was found in the truck. Police do not believe any foul play was involved.More >>
  • Attorney "getting conflicting stories about absentee ballots" in contested JeffCo race

    Attorney "getting conflicting stories about absentee ballots" in contested JeffCo race

    Sunday, July 27 2014 7:08 PM EDT2014-07-27 23:08:43 GMT
    Jefferson County Commissioner Sandra Little Brown is expected to address the challenge to the District Two election results Monday. The contest was filed by one of her opponent's supporters. ABC 33/40 spoke with the attorney representing that supporter.More >>
    Jefferson County Commissioner Sandra Little Brown is expected to address the challenge to the District Two election results Monday. The contest was filed by one of her opponent's supporters. ABC 33/40 spoke with the attorney representing that supporter.More >>
Most Popular
Stories
Videos
loading...
Powered by WorldNow