'Slap in the Face': Anguished Mom Slams Plea Deal After Fatal Fireworks Prank
A grief-stricken Connecticut mother spoke out against a decision by prosecutors to strike a plea deal with the teenager responsible for her daughter's death.
In a prank that went horribly awry, 19-year-old Eric Morelli (below, left) was throwing lit fireworks at his friend's bedroom window last summer.
One of the fireworks, however, went through the window and into the bedroom, sparking a fire that killed his friend's sister, 19-year-old Kristen Milano.
Morelli has now pleaded guilty to a manslaughter charge in exchange for prosecutors recommending a 10-year prison sentence.
At a sentencing hearing in July, Morelli will be able to argue before a judge for a lighter sentence.
Milano's mother, Mary, has criticized the sentence as a "slap in the face," pointing out that Morelli did not call 911 or try to rescue anyone inside.
"He went home, hid, leaving my daughter to suffocate to death in the fire he caused," Milano said through tears.
Superior Court Judge Arthur Hadden said he understands how the family feels, but believes the punishment is "fair and just."
"No sentence will ever equal the loss that the family has suffered. A life has been lost," he said.
The final decision on the sentence will be made in July.
On "Fox and Friends" this morning, legal analysts Heather Hansen and David Bruno reacted to the possible 10-year sentence.
Bruno called the sentence "fair," emphasizing that Morelli had no intention of killing someone. The former homicide prosecutor explained that cases like this are "very tough" for prosecutors.
He compared it to cases of drunk-driving where an innocent person dies.
"Murders, intentional crimes are a different animal because of intent. ... Somebody that intended to kill somebody versus reckless conduct. This is a reckless case," said Bruno.
Hansen said she'd rather see the case left to a jury so the victim's family has a voice.
Watch the discussion above and let us know your thoughts: is the sentence fair?