A 19-year-old Southington man pleaded guilty to manslaughter in connection with a fire that killed another teen last June. After reaching a plea deal, Eric Morelli will be sentenced in July to 10 years in prison.
He was arrested in connection with the death of Kristen Milano, a 19-year-old Southington woman who became trapped after flames broke out in her unit at the Summer Brook Apartments around 4:30 a.m. on Sunday, June 22 and died of smoke inhalation. Her death was ruled a homicide.
Prosecutors said Morelli has acknowledged that he threw the firework, or "popper," into the Milano family apartment in an attempt to wake Kristen's brother.
Kristen’s mother, Mary Milano, spoke in court about what was taken from her family nearly a year ago, said Morelli has shown no remorse for killing her daughter and asked for the maximum sentence allowed.
“He did not stop to assist getting anyone out or put out the fire. He did not call 911. He went home, hid, leaving my daughter to suffocate to death -- from the fire he caused,” Mary Milano said, through her tears. “He has destroyed and broken my family apart forever. There is a hole that now will never be filled.”
She said she does not sleep, is depressed and feels like her heart has been ripped from her chest.
\“There is not a moment that I don't think about Kristen. She was a beautiful, funny, engaging young lady who was going to college to work in the healthcare field. Her future was very bright,” Kristen’s mother said.
According to an agreement Morelli reached, he will be sentenced to 10 years in prison and five years of probation. He will be able to argue for less time, but can get no fewer than five years in prison.
Mary Milano called the reduction in sentence a “slap in the face” to her family.
“It minimizes all of our suffering and loss that we continue to try and fight through on a daily basis,” she said. “No amount of time is enough.”
Milano went on to say her family is in excruciating pain, yet Morelli “is living his life as if nothing ever happened.”
“Nothing will bring her back, but a maximum sentence will give my family a small bit of closure and some justice for my daughter Kristen,” Mary Milano said.
Morelli, who was charged with manslaughter, arson and reckless endangerment, will be sentenced on July 23.