Date Published:  Fri, 01/30/2009
By Stephanie Vosk

January 30, 2009
BARNSTABLE – Erin Colleran will have a chance at life outside of prison.

Colleran, 34, was resentenced in Barnstable Superior Court today to spend the remainder of her years in a state facility in Framingham for killing her 2 1/2-year-old daughter in 2001.

But this time, that sentence was ordered on a second degree murder conviction and includes the possibility of parole in less than 10 years.

Colleran was convicted of first degree murder in 2003 for suffocating her daughter Skyler Morse. She appealed the conviction to the state Supreme Judicial Court, and that court ruled in October that there was no premeditation involved in the killing. The act, the court ruled, resulted from Colleran’s profound, possibly psychotic depression, the court found.

“Today was a great day, a great day for justice in light of a serious tragedy,” Drew Segadelli, Colleran’s attorney, said after the sentencing, citing his client’s mental state at the time of the murder.

This morning, Colleran, who has been behind bars since her conviction, appeared before Judge Gary Nickerson in her Department of Corrections denim shirt, her dark hair cut shoulder length was pulled half back into a loose bun.

She stood in the courtroom’s center as the mother and sister of her former boyfriend described the impact that Skyler’s murder has had on the family.

Richard Morse, Skyler’s father, has had no other children and can’t bring himself to spend time with his younger family members at Christmas or other functions, his sister, Chrissy Morse, told the court.

“He won’t even visit Skyler’s grave.”

“I wanted everybody to know what my family’s been going through for the past seven years,” Chrissy Morse said after the hearing. “With Skyler not being here, my poor brother, he’s not the same any more.”

The family believes Colleran knew what she was doing when she killed her daughter, and was disappointed with the sentence.

“She shouldn’t be getting out of jail,” Chrissy Morse said.

In court, Richard Morse’s mother, Sandra Morse said, “We just never thought Erin would do anything like this.”

Colleran’s parents were also in the courtroom, but did not offer any statements.

On the morning of Dec. 18, 2001, police responded to the Sandwich home shared by Morse and Colleran. Investigators found a young girl dead, a mother distraught and eager to confess and a father asleep in the adjoining bedroom.

Colleran told police she had been unable to sleep and had been contemplating suicide. When her daughter awoke at 6 a.m., she put the girl on the couch, where the toddler fell back to sleep.

Colleran then pushed Skyler’s face into the sofa, suffocating her, before turning her over and choking her. Then she called the police.
At her trial, witnesses described Colleran as a doting and responsible mother. She was unable to give any reason for her actions, other than to say she wanted to die and thought if she killed her child someone would kill her.

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