Little Tierra Morgan-Glover, 2, did not deserve to die by her father’s hand that cold night on Nov. 22, 2011. But her father, Arthur Morgan III, decided that since her mother was seeing another man, his daughter would drown that night.
Instead of taking his little girl to see Happy Feet 2, the homeless and unemployed father drove around until he came to Shark River Park near the New Jersey shore. It was there that he tied a car jack to his daughter’s car seat and threw her off a bridge into the dark icy water. Her tiny body was found with one purple sneaker sticking out of the water. Her father went to a nearby liquor store and drank rum and coke all night with a friend before fleeing to San Diego, Calif., where he was eventually caught.
Morgan has a defense for his actions that night. He does not deny that he killed his daughter that night; he argues that he was not in the right frame of mind. Morgan’s defense lawyer, Ryan Moriarty in his opening statement to the jury stated, “We’re not asking you to presume Arthur Morgan innocent of responsibility. … It is our contention that he did not act knowingly and purposefully on that day but, rather, recklessly. Can your ability to think clearly be affected by lack of sleep, losing your job, staying in your car? By homelessness, by the end of a major relationship in your life?”
The key to his defense is convincing the jury that he did not act with a knowing and purposeful manner but was emotionally unbalanced. The difference between these two states of mind could mean life in prison with no parole or a lesser charge of reckless manslaughter, which carries a penalty of just five years with a chance for parole.
Monmouth County prosecutor Jordan Williams countered Morgan’s defense by stating to the jury: “This is Arthur Morgan … He had a beautiful, adorable daughter. He no longer has a daughter because he decided to kill her. He murdered her by dumping her in a creek. She was just a little girl. He dumped her in that dirty, cold stream and just walked away. She went into that water wide awake, alert and helpless, old enough to know what was happening to her and unable to do anything about it.”
During this trial Morgan will have to counteract statements that he made to the police that show he knew what he was doing. Among the statements he made was that he tied the carjack to her seat “to keep her where she was … like a ball and chain.”