READING, Pa. - A Berks County jury found a man guilty Wednesday of third degree murder and involuntary manslaughter for the death of his former girlfriend at Kutztown University.
Michael Morrone sat stone-faced inside the courtroom as the jury announced its verdict for the New Jersey man at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, according to WFMZ's Ryan Hughes.
Morrone was subsequently sentenced to eight to 20 years in prison for the death of Christine McGhee, with credit for time he has already served for his prior assault conviction in the case.
"Over the past four years, I've had a lot of time to think. Not a day goes by I don't think about it," Morrone said during the sentencing phase of the trial. "I really wish I would have handled things differently that night. I do want to apologize to Christine's family. I really am sorry. You guys don't deserve that and neither does my family."
The jurors got the case around noon Wednesday and deliberated for about 2-1/2 hours, sifting through two days of emotional testimony and evidence presented by both the prosecution and the defense before reaching their verdict.
Christine McGhee, a Kutztown University sophomore, flew off Morrone's pickup truck outside her campus dorm in late 2008 and was left in a vegetative state for more than three years before her death in 2012.
The defense argued that prosecutors never proved her death was a case of murder beyond a reasonable doubt.
During closing arguments Wednesday morning, prosecutors argued when Morrone hit the gas pedal of his truck, it wasn't to go home. It was to get rid of McGhee the easiest way possible.
Two days of testimony revealed McGhee was drunk at a party in Kutztown in December 2008 and invited Morrone to campus. The two were seen arguing and Morrone drove her home.
Another argument erupted, and Morrone told police he pushed McGhee out of his truck. He said he threw her cell phone and bag out the window and shut the door.
McGhee jumped onto the truck's running board and flew off and hit her head when Morrone sped off, but a forensic pathologist testified she suffered a broken jaw before she fell.
Prosecutors said Morrone knew she was on the running board and injured before he left to head home to Marlton, New Jersey.
Morrone was already convicted of assault before McGhee's death. He is serving a five-to-20 year prison sentence.
Allentown, PA 18102
- Southeastern PA Matt Rourke/AP