Two and a half years after the tragic shooting of Johanna Justin-Jinich ’10, the trial of Stephen Morgan began yesterday in Middletown. (For those who may not have been around in 2009: Morgan, a 32-year-old Marblehead, Mass., native is charged with the murder of Justin-Jinich on May 6, 2009, in Red & Black Cafe.) “Morgan chose the three-judge panel over a jury for his trial,” reports the Associated Press, and he is choosing to plead insanity. Whether or not the judges accept the insanity claim, the stakes are high:
If convicted of murder, he could face up to 60 years in prison or be committed to a high-security state psychiatric hospital, depending on the judges’ ruling on the insanity claim. He was also charged with two other felonies — intimidation due to bias and carrying a pistol without a permit. [ . . . ] Both the prosecution and defense are expected to put psychiatrists on the witness stand to testify about Morgan’s mental health.
Eye witnesses to the shooting took the stand on Wednesday, including Susan Gerhardt ’09, Barry Finder ’09, and Capt. Sean Moriarty of the Middletown Police Department. Here, the Wall Street Journal reports on their accounts. Unsurprisingly, recollections of the shooting remain quite painful for many in the courtroom (which included “about a dozen relatives and friends of Justin-Jinich”) and on campus. This blog’s intention is neither to dredge up painful details of the shooting nor to give Morgan any more celebrity status on this blog than necessary. As such, Wesleying’s coverage will likely be limited to significant newsworthy developments. For now, here is coverage of the start of the trial:
- Witness describes fatal shooting of Conn. student (Wall Street Journal)
- Conn. trial begins in Wesleyan U. student killing (AP)
- Local police captain, state police detectives testify (Middletown Press)