State-Picked Psychiatrist Examining Defendant In Wesleyan Slaying, Prosecutor Says

Crime, Law and JusticeHealthJustice SystemFirearmsColleges and UniversitiesCrime

MIDDLETOWN — After months of delays, a state-appointed psychiatrist is now evaluating Stephen Morgan, the Massachusetts man charged with fatally shooting a Wesleyan University student nearly two years ago, a prosecutor said Tuesday.

Middlesex State's Attorney Timothy Liston told Superior Court Judge Susan Handy that the mental health expert began examining Morgan last month and plans to do at least two more evaluations before deciding whether additional exams are needed. Morgan, 31, appeared briefly in court Tuesday morning with his attorney, Richard Brown.

Morgan is scheduled to appear at Superior Court again on June 7.

The state's mental health evaluations of Morgan were delayed after another state expert, hired last August, became ill and was unable to complete them.

Morgan has pleaded not guilty to killing Wesleyan junior Johanna Justin-Jinich, 21, of Timnath, Colo., inside a bookstore cafe near campus in May 2009. Morgan's lawyers say he was mentally ill at the time. They said two physicians who evaluated him will testify during the trial about his mental disease or defect at the time of the slaying.

The shooting, at the Red & Black Cafe inside Broad Street Books, prompted a nearly two-day campus lockdown and search for Morgan. He eventually turned himself in the night after the shooting.

According to New York City police, Morgan had threatened Justin-Jinich in 2007 when they attended a New York University summer program. Police said a journal they believe belonged to Morgan contains writings about a killing spree targeting Jewish people and "beautiful and smart" Wesleyan students, according to court records. Justin-Jinich came from a Jewish family, and her grandmother was a Holocaust survivor.

Morgan is charged with murder, intimidation based on bigotry or bias and carrying a pistol without a permit. He is at Garner Correctional Institution in Newtown.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
Comments
Loading