Arthur Morgan, 29, is charged with the murder of Tierra Morgan-Glover, who was 2 1/2 when she died in November 2011, the Asbury Park Press reported. Lawyers gave their opening statements Wednesday in Superior Court.
Jordan Williams, an assistant Monmouth County prosecutor, described the crime as one that was carefully planned with Morgan determine to take the little girl away from her mother, Imani Benton, before traveling to "sunny California."
Morgan's lawyer, public defender Ryan Moriarty, said his client was confused by homelessness and the end of his relationship with Benton. He said Morgan had been sleeping in his car in a rest stop on the Garden State Parkway.
Moriarty asked jurors a question: "Was Tierra thrown off a bridge or placed there and left for God to determine?"
Williams gave what he said was the answer, that Morgan was "cold" when he threw his daughter, strapped in her car seat and weighed down with a metal car jack, into a stream in Shark River Park in Wall. She was found the next day after teenage boys spotted the pink car seat.
Tierra was happy when her mother dropped her off for the afternoon outing, Williams said. She thought she was being taken to see "Happy Feet II" by the father she loved.