Christensen admits beating, strangling stepfather in domestic violence dispute
FERRY COUNTY, WASH.– Morgan Eugene Christensen pled guilty to second degree murder with a deadly weapon and first degree burglary Friday in Ferry County Superior Court. Christensen broke into the home of his mother and stepfather in October 2012 then beat his stepfather with a tire iron and strangled him to death. Both charges are Class A felonies with maximum penalties of life in prison and $50,000.
Witnesses reported that the night before the murder, Christensen stood outside of his parents’ home with a hammer and threatened to kill his stepfather, Brian Brill. Christensen was angry that his parents had allowed his ex-girlfriend to live with them in order to protect her from physical abuse by Christensen. Christensen tried to break into the home that night, breaking a door handle in the process, but was unsuccessful in gaining entry.
Christensen returned the next morning. Christensen’s ex-girlfriend reported that Christensen burst into the home yelling that he was going to kill her. She fled and hid in a closet and then under a bed. Christensen encountered his stepfather Brian Brill inside the residence and knocked him down and beat him. Christensen retrieved a tire iron and used it to repeatedly strike Brill while his ex-girlfriend hid nearby and listened to Christensen kill his stepfather. An autopsy revealed that Christensen also strangled Brill to death.
Washington State Assistant Attorneys General Tienney Milnor and John Hillman prosecuted the case at the request of Ferry County. Both are experienced prosecutors who have tried numerous cases, including homicide and crimes of domestic violence.
“The Attorney General’s Office is proud to provide specialized prosecution assistance for county prosecutors across Washington state who may have conflicts or other circumstances preventing them from prosecuting cases themselves,” Ferguson said. “For the sake of the Brill family—and all involved—I am pleased our office brought this case to justice. My thoughts are with those who knew and loved Mr. Brill during this difficult time.”
Sentencing is scheduled for December 13, 2013, in Ferry County Superior Court in Republic, before Judge Pat Monasmith.
By law, county prosecutors in Washington have original jurisdiction for criminal cases in their counties. County prosecutors or the Governor may request assistance from the Attorney General’s Office Criminal Justice Division. The AGO Criminal Justice Division successfully prosecuted and obtained 71 convictions in complex cases since July 2011. The unit is comprised of six prosecuting attorneys.
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Janelle Guthrie, Director of Communications, (360) 586-0725
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