The New Jersey man who was found guilty of murdering his two-year-old daughter by throwing her into a creek was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison without parole.
In November 2011, Arthur Morgan III threw two-year-old Tierra Morgan-Glover off a bridge and into a creek while she was strapped to her car seat, weighing down the seat with a tire jack. The cruel and calculated murder was intended as an act of revenge against the girl’s mother, Imani Benton, who broke off their engagement.
Throughout the trial, the 29-year-old defendant has maintained that he was a good father and provider whose love for Benton brought him to extreme measures. At Wednesday’s sentencing, Morgan had an apology ready for Benton.
"I want to say I'm sorry for the deterioration of what I thought was a beautiful friendship between the two of us that blossomed into a daughter," Morgan told Benton, as reported by NBC New York. "For anybody that was truly affected by this, I hope we can all heal from this situation, knowing Tierra is in a better place."
Morgan had no words of apology concerning the life he took away. Benton wore a dress embroidered with her daughter’s name with photos of Tierra attached.
"I don't understand why she was taken from me," Benton said. "It does give me peace to know that she is in Heaven with God, and (Morgan) will pay for what he did to her, to me and to everyone else. No good will come to him."
The prosecutor and judge spared no words of judgment when handing down Morgan's sentence. Superior Court Judge Anthony Mellaci Jr. said he regretted that the state of New Jersey had just abolished the death penalty.
"You'd be candidate No. 1 for its imposition," Mellaci told Morgan. "Your actions were horrific, unthinkable and appalling.
"This child was alive when she was placed in the water in pitch darkness, and had to suffer the unthinkable action of having water rush in and fill her lungs while strapped into that car seat," he continued. "This child suffered before she died."
Although defense attorneys fought for a lighter charge of manslaughter, arguing that Morgan had just lost his job, was homeless and was not thinking clearly at the time of the murder, Morgan was not likely to inspire much sympathy. His narcissistic personality showed itself many times throughout the trial, including his testimony stating that he wished that the case be turned into a movie.
"We're famous, infamous," Benton testified that Morgan had written to her in a letter while he was in jail. "Don't just let anyone play me in the TV movie.''