Michael Morrone, who was convicted of aggravated assault and related charges for a 2008 incident involving former KU student Christine McGhee, is now facing a third degree murder charge in Berks County.
McGhee died in March 2012 of brain injures from the event. The new charges come after the Berks County coroner determined that the injuries led directly to her death. Therefore, the charges will now be upgraded from aggravated assault to third degree murder.
McGhee was a sophomore at KU at the time of the incident. According to prosecutors, McGhee was at a college party involving alcohol. Later that night, she was seen arguing with Morrone outside McGhee’s on-campus residence hall. According to a report by Peter Hall of the Morning Call, McGhee reportedly leaned in to Morrone’s window when he accelerated. She hung on to the window for approximately 100 feet before falling and rolling across the parking lot.
According to WFMZ reporter Ryan Hughes, a detective with the Pennsylvania State Police told the court in the previous aggravated assault trial that he saw blood on Morrone’s truck and found McGhee face down in a pool of blood upon arriving to the scene of the incident. The officer also presented the court with McGhee’s boot, which had a worn sole, as well as pictures of her bruised and torn leg.
Morrone is currently serving five to 20 years in state prison. If jurors find him guilty of third degree murder in the current trial, he could spend another 40 years in prison.
WFMZ also reported that both the McGhee and Morrone families were in court for the first day of the trial, which began Monday. Hughes also reported that Morrone’s attorney said his client will take the stand in his own defense.