Dad guilty of murder in tot's creek-tossing death - FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

Dad guilty of murder in tot's creek-tossing death

Posted: Updated:

By WAYNE PARRY

FREEHOLD, N.J. (AP) -- A man who tossed his 2-year-old daughter into a creek while she was still strapped into her car seat was convicted Thursday of knowing or purposeful murder and could spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Jurors found Arthur Morgan III guilty of killing Tierra Morgan-Glover, whose body was pulled from a creek in a park near the Jersey shore in November 2011. They also found him guilty of child endangerment and interference with custody.

Prosecutors had said he killed Tierra to get back at her mother for breaking off their engagement. They said he weighed down her pink car seat with a tire jack. Her body was pulled from a creek in a park in Wall Township, about 20 miles from her Lakehurst home, with one tiny black and purple sneaker sticking out of the water.

Morgan, 29, of Eatontown, could be ordered to spend the rest of his life behind bars when he is sentenced May 28.

Defense lawyers had asked the jury to convict Morgan of reckless manslaughter, which could have seen him freed in as little as five years.

Morgan's state of mind the day of his daughter's death was a key part of the case. In his opening statement, defense attorney Ryan Moriarty indicated Morgan would not deny responsibility for Tierra's death but told jurors their task was to decide "what form of homicide applies to this defendant."

After the child's death, Morgan fled to California and was arrested several days later in San Diego, with a newspaper account of the killing in his pocket.

The Monmouth County medical examiner said the toddler died from "homicidal violence, including submersion in water." He said the girl may have been conscious for three minutes after starting to breathe in water and could have remained alive for nearly five minutes after that.

Defense lawyer Jeffrey Coghlan told the jury in his closing argument Tuesday that Morgan believed Tierra's mother's family wasn't raising her properly and that Morgan wasn't thinking clearly at the time Tierra died.

On Wednesday, jurors asked the judge for a second glimpse of Morgan's video statement to police in San Diego. In the video, a detective asked Morgan if he said anything to his daughter before leaving her to die in the creek.

"I told her I loved her, and I gave her a kiss," Morgan replied.

"Did you say a prayer for her?" the detective asked.

"Every day," Morgan answered.

Morgan insisted his daughter was not dead when he left the area.

"I still heard some noises," he said. "I heard her. She sounded like she was crying."

He said he drove away and never returned.

  • New Jersey NewsNew Jersey NewsMore>>

  • FEMA chief questioned over Sandy claims

    FEMA chief questioned over Sandy claims

    Hurricane Sandy damage in Mantoloking, N.J.Hurricane Sandy damage in Mantoloking, N.J.
    The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency has asked an independent watchdog to examine whether the flood-insurance program is shortchanging Superstorm Sandy victims.
    The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency has asked an independent watchdog to examine whether the flood-insurance program is shortchanging Superstorm Sandy victims.
  • Teen pleads guilty in 1 World Trade Center climb

    Teen pleads guilty in 1 World Trade Center climb

    A teenager who made a surreptitious climb to the top of the 1 World Trade Center tower has pleaded guilty in an escapade that fanned concerns about security at the nation's tallest building.
    A teenager who made a surreptitious climb to the top of the 1 World Trade Center tower has pleaded guilty in an escapade that fanned concerns about security at the nation's tallest building.
  • Newark police officer shot

    Newark police officer shot

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 9:04 PM EDT2014-07-31 01:04:39 GMT
    A Newark police officer was shot in the leg while trying to arrest an armed robbery suspect Wednesday afternoon, officials said. The officer, a 19-year veteran of the force assigned to the 5th Precinct, suffered a gunshot wound in his lower leg, according to the head of the police union.
    A Newark police officer was shot in the leg while trying to arrest an armed robbery suspect Wednesday afternoon, officials said. The officer, a 19-year veteran of the force assigned to the 5th Precinct, suffered a gunshot wound in his lower leg, according to the head of the police union.
Powered by WorldNow

WTXF-TV
330 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106-2796

Phone: (215) 925-2929
Fax: (215) 982-5494

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices