A 19-year-old Southington man will spend seven years in prison after throwing fireworks into a Southington home last June, which caused a fire that killed his friend's sister.
Eric Morelli has been sentenced to 15 years, suspended after seven, and fives years of probation.
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 Summer Brook apartment around 4:30 a.m. on Sunday, June 22, 2014. She died of smoke inhalation and her death was ruled a homicide.
Morelli was charged with manslaughter, arson and reckless endangerment. According to a plea agreement he reached, Morelli was expected to be sentenced to 10 years in prison and five years of probation because of a plea deal.
"There will never be a day that goes by I don't think about Kristen or her family," Morelli said during the sentencing proceedings. "I think about her every day and never thought a sparkler would cause her death."
Prosecutors said Morelli has acknowledged that he threw a firework, or "popper," into the Milano family apartment in an attempt to wake Kristen's brother.
When Morelli last appeared in court, Kristen’s mother, Mary Milano, was there and spoke about what was taken from her family a year ago. She 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.”
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.