Pennsylvania Man Sentenced To Life In Prison After Confessing He Killed Aspiring 'Playboy' Model
Christina Carlin-Kraft “was an absolute light in this world and he snuffed it out,” the victim’s mother said of murderer Jonathan Harris.
Warner Bros. Discovery, Inc. (Screenshot from ID's "The Playboy Murders")
A budding model who once posed for Playboy was found brutally beaten and strangled to death inside her home in Pennsylvania, and a man who prosecutors said took advantage of her and then attempted to silence her eventually confessed to committing the crime.
In May 2019, a jury in Norristown deliberated over five hours before convicting Jonathan Harris of the first-degree murder of Christina Carlin-Kraft, 36.
“I believe justice was served,” the now-34-year-old defendant said after the verdict, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported at the time.
Nearly a year earlier, on Aug. 22, 2018, Harris claimed he and Carlin-Kraft did 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, breaking her sinuses, and he said when she attempted to phone 911, he strangled her.
Harris claimed he was unaware he had killed Carlin-Kraft when he left her Ardmore apartment 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 bad,” Harris reportedly said in a confession that was played during his trial in a Montgomery County courtroom.
Despite his claims she used cocaine, the drug was never found at Carlin-Kraft’s home. The medical examiner determined only alcohol — no illegal substances —was in the victim’s system at the time of her death, according to The Inquirer.
In court, a defense attorney for Harris admitted his client was high on cocaine, marijuana and K2 the night of Carlin-Kraft’s murder.
“Ms. Kraft was a vulnerable person, and this defendant took advantage of that when he went back to her apartment and beat her and brutally murdered her,” then-Assistant District Attorney Brianna Ringwood argued at trial, according to The Inquirer.
The prosecutor noted the victim’s “last moments on this Earth were horrendous, were horrifying…”
“This man beat, bound, and strangled Christina Kraft in her home, and did so with intent, so that she couldn’t come into this courtroom to tell you what he did to her,” Ringwood said. “Everything he did was to silence that truth."
In addition to the homicide charge, Harris was convicted of kidnapping, possession of an instrument of a crime, and strangulation.
In August 2019, Harris was sentenced to life behind bars for Carlin-Kraft’s murder, plus an additional 22 and a half to 45 years of consecutive time in connection with the other charges against him.
“She was an absolute light in this world and he snuffed it out,” the victim’s mother, Casey Kraft, said following the trial.
For more on this case, stream The Playboy Murders: “Moth to a Flame” Feb. 6 on discovery+.