A Connecticut teen who killed his sister’s friend in a prank gone wrong pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter for the incident that occurred in June 2014.
Eric Morelli, 19, was found guilty in the death of Kristen Milano, 19, after he threw fireworks at his friend's apartment in an attempt to get his attention.
The Southington apartment caught on fire last year after Morelli tossed several small fireworks at the building, trying to get Jason Milano to come out so the two could "smoke some weed," reports Hartord Courant.
The fatal fire began when one of the fireworks went in through the open window of Kristen’s room. Kristen was sleeping at the time the fire began in her room. She died as a result of smoke inhalation, according to the state medical examiner.
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“Kristen Milano was one of my friends,” Morelli said at his sentencing hearing on July 23. “She was a great friend. I think about her every day and I can’t believe I caused her death.”
Following a tense and emotional hearing, according to Hartford Courant, Morelli was sentenced to seven years behind bars. Morelli’s sentence came from Superior Court Judge Arthur Hadden, who sentenced the teen to 15 years in prison, suspended after seven years, Daily Mail reported. He will be on probation for five years following his release.
“He destroyed my entire life,” Kristen’s mother, Mary Milano, said at the hearing. “I have nightmares of (Kristen) calling for me and I am unable to find her.”
Kristen’s mother stated she was in "total opposition," to the plea deal, calling it a "slap in the face."
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Morelli apologized to the family during his statement. He said the night of the incident, he had left the scene not knowing a fire had been started.
“Clearly there was no contemplation of the consequences, Morelli’s defense attorney, Ray Hassett, said. “There should have been, but there wasn’t.”
Hassett described Morelli as a “kind, simple young man who often acted impulsively. Hassett said the teen has faced intellectual and cognitive functioning limitations throughout his life, Hartford Courant reported.
During his sentencing, Morelli was also ordered not to contact the Milano family during his five years of probation. He was also ordered to make yearly charitable contributions of $1,000 and will have random drug and alcohol testing.