Teen Gets 7 Years in Prison After Tossing Lit Firework into Friend's Bedroom as a Prank and Killing His Sister
07/24/2015 AT 09:15 AM EDT
Eric Morelli, 19, who previously pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter for the June 22, 2014, incident as part of a plea deal, was emotional as he spoke at Thursday's hearing, The Hartford Courant reports.
"Kristen Milano was one of my friends," he said. "She was a great friend. I think about her every day and I can't believe I caused her death."
According to Morelli's arrest warrant, he had made plans with the victim's brother, Jason Milano, to "smoke some weed." He showed up at the Milanos' apartment and began throwing fireworks through Jason's bedroom window in an attempt to wake him.
Two fireworks harmlessly bounced off his friend's window, but the third went in and started the fatal blaze. 19-year-old Kristen's body was later discovered by firefighters. She had died of smoke inhalation.
Kristen's mother, Mary Milano, was "in total opposition" to the agreement. "He destroyed my entire life," she said, fighting through tears. "I have nightmares of [Kristen] calling for me and I am unable to find her."
Prosecutor John Malone emphasized Thursday that Morelli left the scene without calling 911 and noted that, until last week, the teen had pictures of himself with fireworks on his social media.
But Judge Arthur Hadden said that while he sympathized with the family, "this is not a case of murder," and sentenced Morelli to 15 years in prison, suspended after he serves seven years.
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