Arthur Morgan III was sentenced to life in prison on Wednesday for drowning his 2-year-old daughter, the New York Post reports.
The New Jersey father was found guilty of throwing the toddler into a creek while she was still strapped into her car seat—with an irate judge telling him that he would have been placed on death row if the state practiced capital punishment, the news site notes. Morgan had weighed down little Tierra Morgan-Glover’s car seat with a tire jack in the November 2011 incident.
“You’d be candidate No. 1 for its imposition,” Judge Anthony Mellaci Jr. told Morgan regarding the death penalty, according to the Associated Press. “Your actions were horrific, unthinkable and appalling.”
“This child was alive when she was placed in the water in pitch darkness, and had to suffer the unthinkable,” Mellaci added. “This child suffered before she died.”
Morgan apologized to the mother, Imani Benton, saying that he was sorry for “the deterioration of…a beautiful friendship…that blossomed into a daughter.”
“For anybody that was truly affected by this, I hope we can all heal from this situation, knowing Tierra is in a better place,” he said, according to the AP.
“As a father, my job was to provide and protect,” he added. “All my actions prior to this were to make sure Tierra was safe and Imani was comfortable.”