NORRISTOWN, Pa. (CBS) — A 19-year-old on trial for the murder of his ex-girlfriend has been found guilty. Authorities say Gilbert Newton III stabbed to death his ex-girlfriend 18-year-old Morgan McCaffery. Police say she was stabbed more than 30 times.
On Wednesday, a Montgomery County jury found Newton III guilty of murder in the first degree and possession of an instrument of crime.READ MORE: Maurice Hill, Man Accused Of Shooting 6 Philadelphia Police Officers During 2019 Standoff, To Begin Trial Monday
Newton sat with his head down as the jury read their verdict, which includes a mandatory life sentence.
Immediately after, the sentencing hearing began, where McCaffery’s family and friends shared what it has meant to live without Morgan. Her mother looked directly at the defendant, calling him a “monster” and saying, “I imagine Morgan running from you every single day.”
The pair had agreed to meet up on the morning of July 27, 2020, to discuss their recent break-up.
Police found the recent Nazareth High School graduate’s body with more than 30 stab and slash wounds next to her still idling blue SUV.
“When he went to have a conversation with his girlfriend, he grabbed two knives from his kitchen,” Montgomery County Assistant District Attorney Kathleen McLaughlin said.
On Tuesday, Newton testified in his own defense, admitting he killed McCaffery, but only after they began fighting — something the prosecution proved untrue through a series of damning text messages prior to the murder where Newton said in part, “I’ll cut her head off,” “I’m really going to kill her,” and “I will stab her 57 times.”
“He used exact numbers — ‘I want to stab you in the neck 57 times’ — and then the sheer amount of times the defendant stabbed her shows that he intended to kill her,” McLaughlin said.READ MORE: Shooting Inside Lancaster's Park City Center Mall Leaves Some Employees Feeling 'Not Exactly Safe'
While Newton said under oath he didn’t remember many details of the murder, he texted this directly after saying, “I killed Morgan about an hour ago. There was no stopping me.”
“We’re grateful the men and women of this jury saw this case for what it is, a first-degree murder case, and we’re grateful this animal will never walk these streets again,” said Frank McCaffery, Morgan’s uncle and godfather.
Only on CBS3, Morgan’s family shared video of her one day before she died, smiling and showing off her new puppy as her “mom mom” watched from above.
“We will always have a void without Morgan. Every Christmas, every birthday, every christening, there will be an emptiness that we can’t fill,” Frank McCaffery said.
As the trial ends, they say the process of healing can finally begin.
“Tomorrow we’re gonna wake up and tomorrow we’ll begin to write the rest of Morgan’s story because we are determined not to let it end this way,” Frank McCaffery said.
According to the Montgomery County District spokesperson Kate Delano, in Pennsylvania, a conviction of first-degree murder results in a mandatory life sentence.
There’s also no possibility of bail for Newton or anyone when first-degree murder is charged. State officials will decide what facility he will be placed in based on a number of factors.MORE NEWS: Philadelphia Weather: Coolest Day Since May As Sweater Weather Continues