Sparkler prank kills sleeping teen
SOUTHINGTON, Conn. – A lit sparkler cut one Connecticut teen’s life short and changed another teen’s life forever. Police arrested Eric Morelli, 18, in connection with the death of 19-year-old Kristen Milano.
Friends said Morelli thought he was being funny when he allegedly threw the sparkler through a second-floor apartment window Sunday. They also said he was in and out of trouble, but they never thought his immaturity would be linked to someone’s death.
“He just goes off and does what he wants to do at that time,” neighbor Brian Goralnik said.
Goralnik said Morelli never really thought about his actions. Southington police arrested Morelli on Tuesday and charged him in the death of Milano, the sister of one of his friends.
“He thought it was a good idea to throw a firework up there, trying to be funny, trying to wake him up,” Milano’s friend Kyle Cima-Yannell said.
Milano’s friends said Morelli rode his moped over to the Summer Brook Apartments early Sunday morning. They claimed the teen then threw the lit sparkler through the window in an attempt to get the attention of Milano’s brother.
Milano’s brother was actually downstairs sleeping at the time. In fact, friends said no one even knew Milano was home, let alone sleeping in the second-floor bedroom just feet away from where the sparkler allegedly landed and started the fire.
“They just thought she was still out,” Cima-Yannell said.
Milano ended up dying of smoke inhalation, according to police.
Since the fire, neighbors said they noticed police out in front of Morelli’s home.
“At some point, you would think that maybe he’d find the right light, the right way, and he just couldn’t find that,” Goralnik said.
Morelli bonded out Tuesday night, police said. He was charged with manslaughter and three counts of reckless endangerment. Milano’s wake was set for Wednesday, her funeral on Friday.