Southington Teen Charged With Manslaughter After Fire Kills 19-Year-Old

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A teenager has been charged in connection with the fatal apartment fire that left another Southington teen dead Sunday.

Eighteen-year-old Eric Morelli was arrested Tuesday afternoon by Southington Police.

Nineteen-year-old Kristen Milano died of smoke inhalation as a result of the fire.

“He was subsequently charged with one count of manslaughter in the first degree, and three counts of reckless endangerment in the first degree,” said Lt. Michael Baribault.

The fire had already been ruled a homicide, and despite rumors among the tight-knit community about who may have started the fire, police had yet to release the names of any suspects, until now.

“Your manslaughter and reckless endangerment is reckless activity that results in injury or death of another person, it’s a reckless act,” said Lt. Baribault, explaining the charges.

Neighbors heard popping noises at the time of the fire and it’s believed that a firecracker was thrown in the window, causing the blaze.

But official details are limited.

“The court sealed the warrant and as such, the details that I can provide are limited,” said Lt. Baribault.

The incident left those who knew the two teens in shock, still wondering how it could have happened.

“They were very close friends so it’s just weird how he would do that,” said Rebecca Hayes.

Some of the victims’ neighbors we spoke with said the suspect “got off easy” with the charges while others said they were reasonable, considering the circumstances.

“I think it was an accident, I don’t think that… I don’t know…” said Samantha Rogers.

Attorney Raymond Hassett, is representing Morelli.

“My client, Eric Morelli, and his family are extremely sorry over what has happened. This is particularly difficult as Eric was a long-time friend of Kristen. Eric never intended to harm anyone and he is very remorseful about this tragedy. He has been fully cooperative with law enforcement and will be responding to the charges in court,” said Hassett in a statement sent to the media Tuesday night.

The court set bond in the case is $150,000 and Morelli is due in court Wednesday morning.

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