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Warrant released in Southington fire death case

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BRISTOL — After a late-night party that included beer and vodka, Eric Morelli threw a firework through a window at a Southington apartment complex hoping to get the attention of a friend with whom he planned to smoke marijuana, according to an arrest warrant unsealed Friday.

Kristen Milano, 19, died in the ensuing fire on June 22. Morelli, 18, was charged with manslaughter in the case. He is due to appear in New Britain Superior Court Sept. 4.

Judge Robyn Stewart Johnson ordered the warrant unsealed Friday, saying there was no reason to keep the document from the public, despite objections from Morelli’s lawyer.

Ray Hassett, an attorney representing Morelli, said the warrant would interfere with his client’s right to a fair trial by prejudicing people against Morelli. The warrant also included hearsay and “embarrassing” details about the victim, Hassett said.

Morelli and Jason Milano, Kristen Milano’s brother, were at a party near Central Connecticut State University that lasted until about 3 a.m. on June 22. The two had planned to meet at Jason Milano’s home in the Summer Brook Apartments, but upon returning to his house, Jason Milano fell asleep on a living room couch. He told police he’d been drinking and smoking marijuana at the party.

According to the affidavit, the next thing Jason Milano remembers is his aunt Diane Goodrich waking him up telling him the house was on fire.

According to neighbors and an interview with Morelli himself included in the warrant, Morelli admitted to driving to Jason Milano’s on his moped. Although he could see Jason Milano asleep on the couch, Morelli couldn’t wake him by calling his name so he got some small fireworks from his moped. The first two thrown at a window bounced off the screen but a third went through an opening into the living room.

When interviewed by police, Morelli didn’t know that Kristen Milano had died, according to the affidavit. Morelli told police what he did was stupid and that it could have been “really, really, really bad on my end.”

Later when told that Kristen Milano had died, police said Morelli began to cry.

Fireworks were found around the apartment window, and neighbors interviewed by police remembered a young man fitting Morelli’s description at the window and calling for Jason Milano, according to the warrant.

Goodrich told police she woke up when the fire alarm went off. She found the fire on top of her nephew’s pillow and tried to put it out but couldn’t, according to the warrant.

Goodrich then put her dog in her car and called for Jason Milano to wake up. By the time she woke Jason Milano, “the entire second floor was on fire.”

Goodrich told police that when she and her nephew were out that there was no one left in the building.

While Kristen Milano’s mother Mary Milano lives at the home, she was staying over her boyfriend’s house that night, according to the warrant.

Firefighters found Kristen Milano dead in a second-floor bedroom. The state Office of the Chief Medical Examiner investigator Natasha Edwards told police that smoke inhalation was likely the cause of death. Kristen Milano’s body was identified based on tattoos.

Investigators with the Southington Fire Marshal’s office and the State Police Fire and Explosion Investigation Unit determined the fire was caused by a firework thrown into Jason Milano’s bedroom. (203)317-2230 Twitter: @JBuchananRJ

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