Teen pleads guilty in sparkler-ignited fire death case - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Teen pleads guilty in sparkler-ignited fire death case

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Eric Morelli pleaded guilty to manslaughter in front of Kristen Milano's family. (Southington police/WFSB photos) Eric Morelli pleaded guilty to manslaughter in front of Kristen Milano's family. (Southington police/WFSB photos)
Kristen Milano's family outside of New Britain Superior Court. (WFSB photo) Kristen Milano's family outside of New Britain Superior Court. (WFSB photo)
Eric Morelli. (Southington police photo) Eric Morelli. (Southington police photo)
NEW BRITAIN, CT (WFSB) -

A teen accused of hurling a sparkler that caused a fire death in Southington last summer pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter charges.

Eric Morelli, 19, faced a judge on New Britain Superior Court on Monday.

Prosecutors said Kristen Milano, 19, died when Morelli's sparkler ignited a fire in her apartment. They said he'd been trying to get the attention of Kristen Milano's brother and threw the sparkler as a joke. Kristen Milano was sleeping in that bedroom where the sparkler landed.

Family members didn't know Milano was inside the home until it was too late. She died of smoke inhalation.

Kristen Milano's mother, Mary Milano, spoke in court on Monday and said that her daughter was “forever silenced.”

"He has taken away my happiness, he has taken away my daughter, his actions has given my family a life sentence of misery," said Mary Milano.

Mary Milano said Morelli showed no remorse when he threw the firework on June 22, 2014. She said he sped away and failed to call 911.

Prosecutors said Morelli admitted to throwing what he called a “popper” to wake Kristen Milano's brother.

"I don't think there will ever be closure, Kristen was Mrs. Milano's life, she was there, and she will suffer every day of her life," said Hugh Keefe, who is the Milano family's attorney.

His sentencing is set for July 23. It is unclear exactly how much time Morelli will spend in prison.

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