Luzerne County man gets 30 to 60 years in multimillionaire father's death

A northeastern Pennsylvania man has been sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison in the death of his multimillion-dollar father, who authorities said he bludgeoned to death, dismembered, and burned, disposing of the remains in the garbage.

William Morse IV, 30, pleaded guilty in Luzerne County Court to third-degree murder and dealing in the proceeds of unlawful activities. The plea spared him a mandatory life without parole term that a first-degree murder conviction would have carried.

The disappearance of William Morse III, 59, started as a missing persons case in June 2018. Authorities said he had an estimated $7 million from a family trust and owned about 10 acres of land in the Hazleton area, in addition to his seven-acre property in Sugarloaf Township.

After the slaying, prosecutors said, the defendant started transferring tens of thousands of dollars from his father’s accounts to his own. Authorities also said the defendant had earlier done online research on murder conviction without a body and getting away with murder.

"That was very powerful evidence against him, and he knew it," Deputy District Attorney Dan Zola said.

Morse declined an opportunity to address the court and declined to say anything to reporters as he was escorted from the courtroom.

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