A three-judge panel has found Stephen Morgan not guilty of murder in the 2009 fatal shooting of Wesleyan University student Johanna Justin-Jinich, saying he was insane at the time. [ . . . ] A three-judge panel announced the verdict Friday in Middlesex Superior Court after deliberating a little less than two hours. Closing arguments were wrapped up around 11 a.m. Friday morning, and the verdict came in around 12:40 p.m.
In addition to the murder charge, Morgan was also declared not guilty of intimidation based on bigotry or bias and carrying a pistol without a permit. Perhaps most disturbing, however, is the possibility that Morgan is declared sane in two months and released back into society after a two-month stay at the Whiting Forensic Institute right in Middletown:
Morgan will now be sent to Whiting Forensic Institute in Middletown for 60 days, after which he will be evaluated. A new court date has been set for Feb. 29 to hear the mental evaluation. If Morgan is deemed sane at that time, he will be released back into society.
An earlier Middletown Press article discusses this possibility, which would be an awful and disturbing blow to Johanna’s family, friends, and anyone who was on campus or affected in the 2009 shooting.
According to Morgan’s defense attorney Richard Brown: “My client did not get off. My client is going to get remanded to a mental health facility to get the help he needs.” According to the forensic psychologist who evaluated Morgan, he is suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, including “delusional thoughts that include prison guards reading his mind, video of his thoughts being shown to his family, and fellow inmates monitoring him from strategic locations.”
Johanna’s family wasn’t at the courtroom when the verdict was read, but here’s the statement her father sent beforehand:
“My family and I have been in Connecticut these past three weeks,” read the statement from the victim’s father, Daniel Jinich. “During this difficult time, we were moved by the outpourings of kindness and gentleness expressed by many people in Middletown who we did not know but who in their own way reached out to us to express sympathy and compassion.”
- Stephen Morgan Not Guilty of Wesleyan Murder By Reason of Insanity (Hartford Courant)
- Stephen Morgan Found Not Guilty By Mental Disease or Defect (Middletown Press)
- Stephen Morgan Not Guilty in Johanna Justin-Jinich Shooting (Huff Post)