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September 29, 2021

Philadelphia man convicted of murdering ex-girlfriend at SEPTA station

Gilbert Newton III stabbed Morgan McCaffery to death after she broke off their relationship, prosecutors said

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Gilbert Newtown III convicted Bill Oxford/on Unsplash

Gilbert Newton III, 19, was convicted Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2021, of murdering his ex-girlfriend, 18-year-old Morgan McCaffery at SEPTA's Meadowbrook Station on July 27, 2020. A Montgomery County jury found Newtown guilty of first-degree murder and possessing an instrument of crime.

A 19-year-old Philadelphia man has been found guilty of murdering his ex-girlfriend, whose body was found with dozens of stab wounds at a SEPTA station in Montgomery County last year.

Gilbert Newton III was found guilty of first-degree murder and possessing an instrument of crime in the death of 18-year-old Morgan McCaffery, according to a report from CBS3. The jury deliberated for less than three hours before reaching its verdict, after which Judge William Carpenter sentenced Newton to life in prison. 

McCaffery's body had more than 30 stab and slash wounds to the stomach and neck when authorities found it just after 8 a.m. on July 27, 2020. It was located beside her running car in the parking lot of SEPTA's Meadowbrook Station in Abington.

A witness at the scene described a white Jeep fleeing the station not long after the incident occurred.

Investigators located that Jeep a couple of hours later after a 911 call brought them to the home of Newton's mother in Northeast Philadelphia. Newtown reportedly had blood on his clothing and injuries to his hands requiring medical attention. The Jeep also had visible blood stains, according to a criminal complaint.

An investigation into McCaffery's death revealed that she had broken off a relationship with Newton about a month earlier. Newton requested that McCaffery meet him at the station to discuss their relationship, which had lasted about one year.

McCaffery stabbing death sceneStreet View/Google Maps

Investigators say Gilbert Newton III, 19, killed his ex-girlfriend, 18-year-old Morgan McCaffery, at SEPTA's Meadowbrook Station in Abington on July 27, 2020. Newton was convicted on Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2021, of first-degree murder in McCaffery's death.

McCaffery had told a close friend that Newton was allegedly abusive during the relationship and had threatened her in the past, prosecutors said. A county detective at Newton's trial read text messages the 19-year-old sent to McCaffery in the weeks leading up to her death, the Inquirer reported. In one message, he instructed her to keep her "head on a swivel," because he was going to stab her repeatedly.

"I'm really going to kill her," Newton texted his mom after seeing a picture McCaffery posted on social media with her new boyfriend, according to a report from CBS3. "I'm gonna stab her in the neck 57 times."

Gilbert Newton III

Gilbert Newton III

When it came time for the defense's closing argument Wednesday, Newton's attorney, A. Charles Peruto Jr., conceded to jurors that the 19-year-old was responsible for McCaffery's murder, according to the Inquirer. Peruto, however, argued that Newton actually intended to kill himself that morning at the train station and therefore was not guilty of premeditated murder. Assistant District Attorney Kathleen McLaughlin called Peruto's theory a "sham."

On the one-year anniversary of McCaffery's death, her high school, Nazareth Academy, remembered the 18-year-old's "vibrant personality, the love we have for her, and the many happy memories."

"Morgan had a profound impact on each one of us," the school said in a Facebook post. "Today especially we pray for Morgan, and for all those who love her, most especially her beloved family, friends and her dear classmates from the Class of 2020. Morgan was a light to those all those she encountered."