A Pennsylvania man accused of brutally beating and choking former Playboy model Christina Carlin-Kraft to death was convicted on all charges Thursday.
As he was being led out of the courtroom, Jonathan Harris said he believed “justice was served” by the verdict and will now face a mandatory life sentence for his first-degree murder conviction, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Harris, 31, had claimed he killed the model after she refused to pay for an ounce of cocaine. Before her death, Harris said the two drank wine and had consensual sex in her condo on Aug. 22, 2018, but said after she refused to pay for the drugs he repeatedly punched her and then choked her to keep her from calling police.
Harris’ attorney never disputed that he had killed Carlin-Kraft, but he argued that Harris had never meant to kill her and had been high on ketamine at the time.
He declined to make a public statement after the verdict, however, Assistant District Attorney Brianna Ringwood said she was pleased with the jury’s decision.
“Ms. Kraft was a vulnerable person, and this defendant took advantage of that when he went back to her apartment and beat her and brutally murdered her,” she said.
Carlin-Kraft’s family also believes the right verdict was reached.
“He tortured her. It’s hard for all of us but some kind of justice was served, just a little,” her sister-in-law Brielle Kraft told local station WPVI.
Her parents also addressed the media saying they believed the verdict was deserved and were surprised the jury took as long as they did to convict. The jury made its decision in five and a half hours.
“She was an absolute light in this world and he snuffed it out,” her mother, Casey Kraft said.
Earlier in the day, as the attorneys delivered their closing statements in the case, defense attorney A. Charles Peruto Jr. had urged the jury to consider the case based on the evidence rather than emotion.
“This wasn’t a specific attempt to kill,” Peruto said, according to the local paper. “He didn’t go there for that. There was no evidence of that whatsoever.”
However, Ringwood had argued that it took Harris more than three minutes to choke the life out of Carlin-Kraft and believed he was fully conscious of what he was doing.
“This man beat, bound, and strangled Christina Kraft in her home, and did so with intent, so that she couldn’t come into this courtroom to tell you what he did to her,” she said. “Everything he did was to silence that truth."
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