FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 16, 2013
Admitted beating, strangling stepfather in burglary, domestic violence dispute
FERRY COUNTY, WASH.– Morgan Eugene Christensen was sentenced Friday to more than 23 years in prison after pleading guilty to second degree murder with a deadly weapon and first degree burglary 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.
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. Christensen tried to break into the home that night, 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. Christensen beat Brill repeatedly with a tire iron while his ex-girlfriend hid nearby and listened to Christensen kill his stepfather. An autopsy revealed that Christensen strangled Brill to death after beating him with the tire iron.
Judge Pat Monasmith sentenced Christensen to 278 months in prison and 36 months in community custody for the second degree murder charge. The court also ordered no contact with his former girlfriend.
Monasmith also sentenced Christensen to 41 months in prison and 18 months in community custody for the first degree burglary charge. State law requires the two sentences to be served concurrently.
Christensen was also ordered to pay $500 in victims’ fees, $200 in filing fees, $100 for the DNA fee, $1,000 to reimburse public defense costs and over $2300 in restitution to cover Brill’s funeral expenses.
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.
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
Alison Dempsey-Hall, Deputy Communications Director, (206) 641-1335