The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

National and world

April 3, 2014

Man convicted of tossing daughter to death in creek in N.J.

(Continued)

FREEHOLD, N.J. —

After her death, Morgan fled to California and was arrested several days later in San Diego, with a newspaper account of the killing in his pocket.

The Monmouth County medical examiner said the toddler died from "homicidal violence, including submersion in water." He said the girl may have been conscious for three minutes after starting to breathe in water and could have remained alive for nearly five minutes after that.

Defense lawyer Jeffrey Coghlan told jurors Tuesday that Morgan believed Tierra's mother's family wasn't raising her properly and that Morgan wasn't thinking clearly at the time Tierra died.

On Wednesday, jurors asked the judge for a second glimpse of Morgan's video statement to police in San Diego. In the video, a detective asked Morgan if he said anything to his daughter before leaving her to die in the creek.

"I told her I loved her, and I gave her a kiss," Morgan replied.

Morgan insisted his daughter was not dead when he left the area.

"I still heard some noises," he said. "I heard her. She sounded like she was crying."

He said he drove away and never returned.

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