A jury convicted Arthur Morgan III of murder, endangering his daughter's welfare and interference with custody Thursday after a day of deliberations. Under New Jersey law, he faces a maximum sentence of life with no parole.
Children playing in Shark River Park in Wall Township found the body of Tierra Morgan-Glover on Nov. 22, 2011.
Prosecutors said that a day earlier Morgan picked up Tierra in a meeting with her mother. Imani Benton said she gave him $20 to buy food for his daughter and take her to a movie, "Happy Feet Two."
Morgan, after spending the afternoon driving his daughter around, calling her mother repeatedly and buying her a small French fries at a McDonald's, took her to the park, weighted her car seat with a jack and threw her into the creek, prosecutors said.
Morgan's lawyers did not dispute that he killed Tierra, instead arguing that he was driven by love and fear for the little girl. They put no witnesses on the stand.
Prosecutors said Morgan had pawned jewelry in the days before killing his daughter in order to leave the state.
Morgan was arrested by the U.S. Marshals Service on Nov. 29, 2011 in San Diego, Calif.
“This defendant is a selfish, self-interested coward who killed a two and a half year old innocent baby for nothing,” First Assistant Monmouth County Prosecutor Marc LeMieux said in his closing argument Tuesday.