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>>

  • New Jersey sues over Florida pizza shop logo

    New Jersey sues over Florida pizza shop logo

    The New Jersey Turnpike Authority wants a Florida pizza shop to pay a big toll for using a logo similar to the iconic Garden State Parkway's green and yellow signs.
    The New Jersey Turnpike Authority wants a Florida pizza shop to pay a big toll for using a logo similar to the iconic Garden State Parkway's green and yellow signs.
  • Port Authority to plan for new bus terminal

    Port Authority to plan for new bus terminal

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 3:02 PM EDT2014-07-23 19:02:29 GMT
    The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is discussing a new main bus terminal. The 64-year-old Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan has come under criticism from New Jersey lawmakers who say their constituents have to deal with long delays, substandard conditions and a lack of communication.
    The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is discussing a new main bus terminal. The 64-year-old Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan has come under criticism from New Jersey lawmakers who say their constituents have to deal with long delays, substandard conditions and a lack of communication.
  • Man stabbed ex 84 times, put pig mask on her

    Jury: Man stabbed ex 84 times, put pig mask on her

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 2:10 PM EDT2014-07-23 18:10:40 GMT
    Jurors have found a New Jersey man who stabbed his ex-wife 84 times and covered her face with a Halloween pig mask guilty of murder.
    A New Jersey man has been convicted of fatally stabbing his ex-wife 84 times and covering her face with a pig mask.
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