An 18-year-old man accused of lighting the sparkler that police say sparked a deadly blaze briefly faced a judge on Monday for the first time.
Eric Morelli faces a number of charges, including manslaughter, for the death of 19-year-old Kristen Milano.
He was tight-lipped as he entered the courtroom. Milano's friends and family were there along with supporters of Morelli.
"It's hard to see him walk out of court," said Joe Goding, a friend of Morelli. "I wanted to see him thrown on to the table, brought out of the courtroom. I wanted to see the Milanos see him and say, 'yeah, he got what he deserved.'"
Morelli's appearance at 10 a.m. in Bristol Superior Court was quick and his case was continued until July 29. The affidavit in the case remained sealed.
While friends of Milano spoke up for the Middlesex Community College student who had dreams of working in a hospital, Morelli had his lawyer speak on his behalf.
"He's frankly profoundly remorseful about what happened and we're concerned about him," said Ray Hassett, Morelli's attorney. "Has he reached out to the family, letting them know that? He has not. The reason being I've instructed him not to at this point."
Hassett told Eyewitness News that his client has spent his time since the incident working and getting his GED.
Neighbors said Morelli threw the lit sparkler into the window of Milano's home in Southington last month. They said it was meant as a joke for his friend, Milano's sister.
Milano had been sleeping at the time, according to investigators. Her brother and aunt were downstairs and able to safely escape.
Police said Milano died of smoke inhalation.
People who knew Morelli told Eyewitness News they believed he thought it'd be funny. They said he was always in and out of trouble, but they never envisioned anything like this.
Morelli has been out on bond.
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