FREEHOLD, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) – Jurors are deliberating the case of a New Jersey man accused of killing his 2-year-old daughter by tossing her into a creek, still strapped into her car seat.
Wednesday’s deliberations come after the defense rested on Tuesday without calling any witnesses.
Prosecutors in Monmouth County say Arthur Morgan III, 29, of Eatontown killed Tierra Morgan-Glover in a jealous rage in 2011 after the child’s mother broke off their engagement.
Defense lawyer Jeffrey Coghlan has argued Morgan dreamed of reuniting the family but that desire turned into an obsession when Morgan was not thinking clearly.
Morgan could face life in prison if convicted of “knowing and purposeful” murder. But if convicted of a lesser form of homicide, like manslaughter, he could be freed in as little as five years.
The judge on Tuesday denied a motion to toss out the murder charge.
His lawyer told the jury at the start of the case the issue is not whether Morgan is guilty, but what crime he committed.
Morgan is charged with murder, child endangerment and interference with custody in the death of Morgan-Glover.
Prosecutors said Morgan killed her during a court-approved visit by attaching a tire iron to her car seat to weigh it down before throwing it into a creek from an overpass in Wall Township.
The cause of death was determined to be homicidal violence, including submersion in water. An autopsy determined that she was alive when she hit the water.
Morgan fled to California following the child’s death, and was found there by a fugitive recovery task force.
Morgan declined to testify in the case.
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