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Trial underway in dragging death of Kutztown University student

By Ryan Hughes, Reporter, RHughes@wfmz.com
Published On: Apr 28 2014 10:06:37 AM CDT
Updated On: Apr 28 2014 04:51:35 PM CDT

A man accused of killing his ex-girlfriend in an assault on Kutztown University's campus is facing a jury for a second time.

READING, Pa. -

A man accused of killing his ex-girlfriend in an assault on Kutztown University's campus is back on trial on more serious charges.

Michael Morrone is facing a jury for a second time, but now he's charged with third degree murder.

Morrone is responsible his ex-girlfriend's death after she was thrown from his pickup truck on campus in December 2008, prosecutors told the jury.

During opening statements Monday, Morrone's attorney said his client was reckless and negligent, but he argued this was not murder and asked the jury to consider involuntary manslaughter charges.   

According to prosecutors, Christine McGhee, a KU sophomore at the time, was left in a vegetative state after Morrone pushed her out of his pickup truck and dragged her across a parking lot near her dorm on campus.   

Earlier that night, testimony revealed McGhee, 23, of Warminster, Bucks Co., was at a college party drinking alcohol. Classmates told the court her ex-boyfriend was coming into town, and they were seen arguing. They both left in Morrone's Ford F-150, and that's when authorities said McGhee was pushed out and thrown from the running board of the truck. She was found face down in a pool of blood.

A detective with the Pennsylvania State Police testified he found blood splattered across Morrone's truck. He showed the court McGhee's boot with the sole worn down from the incident and pictures of her leg bruised and torn apart.

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McGhee died in March 2012. The corner determined she died as a result of brain injuries she suffered from the incident.

Morrone was convicted of aggravated assault before McGhee passed away. He is serving a five to 20-year sentence in state prison.

Now, if convicted of murder he could be looking at possibly another 40 years behind bars.

Both McGhee and Morrone's families were in court for day-one of the trial, and were forced to live through the nightmare all over again.

Morrone's attorney said his client will likely take the stand in his defense. Testimony will continue Tuesday.