A budding model who once posed for Playboy was found brutally beaten and strangled to death at her Pennsylvania home, and a man who prosecutors say exploited her and then tried to silence her eventually confessed to have committed the crime.
In May 2019, a Norristown jury deliberated for over five hours before convicting Jonathan Harris of the first-degree murder of Christina Carlin-Kraft, 36.
“I believe justice has been done,” the 34-year-old defendant said after the verdict, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported at the time.
Almost a year earlier, on August 22, 2018, Harris alleged that he and Carlin-Kraft had used cocaine and had consensual sex. He said he then got into a fight with her when she allegedly refused to pay $1,200 for the drugs, according to People.
Harris repeatedly punched Carlin-Kraft and ruptured her sinuses, and he said when she tried to call 911 he strangled her.
Harris claimed he was unaware that he had killed Carlin-Kraft when he left her Ardmore flat and that her death was an accident.
“I covered her with a blanket because I didn’t want to see her like that. I knew she was hurt really badly,” Harris reportedly said in a confession played during his trial in a Montgomery County courtroom.
Despite his claims that she used cocaine, the drug was never found in Carlin-Kraft’s home. According to The Inquirer, the coroner determined that only alcohol — not illegal substances — was in the victim’s system at the time of her death.
In court, a defense attorney for Harris admitted that his client was high on cocaine, marijuana and K2 on the night of Carlin-Kraft’s murder.
“MS. Kraft was a vulnerable person, and this defendant took advantage of that by going back to her apartment, hitting her, and brutally murdering her,” then Assistant District Attorney Brianna Ringwood argued in court, according to The Inquirer.
The prosecutor noted that the victim’s “final moments on this earth were appalling, appalling…”
“This man beat, bound and strangled Christina Kraft in her home, and he did it on purpose so that she couldn’t come into this courtroom and tell you what he did to her,” Ringwood said. “All he did was silence that truth.”
In addition to the murder charge, Harris was convicted of kidnapping, possession of a crime instrument, and strangulation.
In August 2019, Harris was sentenced to life behind bars for the murder of Carlin-Kraft, plus an additional 22.5 to 45 consecutive years in connection with the other charges against him.
“She was an absolute light in this world and he snuffed it out,” said the victim’s mother, Casey Kraft, after the trial.
Watch the stream for more information on this case The Playboy Murders: “Moth to a Flame” on February 6th on Discovery+.