In December, Stephen Morgan was found not guilty by reason of insanity for the 2009 shooting of Johanna Justin-Jinich ’09. At the time of the verdict, we reported that Morgan would subsequently be sent to Whiting Forensic Institute in Middletown for a 60-day evaluation. “If Morgan is deemed sane at that time,” reported the Middletown Press, “he will be released back into society.” That alarming possibility has been avoided: as of today’s mental evaluation, Morgan will be committed to Whiting, a maximum-security psychiatric hospital unit in Middletown, for up to 60 years:
A state mental health expert testified during a Superior Court commitment hearing that Morgan, the Massachusetts man who gunned down a Wesleyan student at a cafe bookstore near campus in 2009, is delusional, psychotic and paranoid and a danger to himself and society.
Susan McKinley from the Whiting Forensic Institute told a three-judge panel that Morgan should remain at Whiting, the maximum-security psychiatric unit at Connecticut Valley Hospital in Middletown.
Morgan’s attorney argued that Morgan should be held for 45 years, while prosecutor Timothy Liston argued for the maximum term of 75. However long he’s held, the mental health expert testified, Morgan remains deeply delusional and confused about events relating to the 2009 shooting:
“His thinking is still disorganized… He really doesn’t have a realistic appreciation of how disturbed his thinking has become,” McKinley said.
McKinley said Morgan represents a danger to himself because he lacks a realistic understanding of his mental illness. [ . . . ]
McKinley said that while Morgan receives medication now, he belongs at Whiting, the state’s maximum security facility. She also said Morgan was a willing participant in the evaluation and that she did not believe he misrepresented himself.
Wes students might take comfort in the fact that Morgan is in a maximum-security unit and, hopefully, receiving the psychiatric attention he needs. They will also have to contend with the fact that he’s in Middletown—Whiting is part of the historic Connecticut Valley Hospital right on Silver Street. While it’s disconcerting to think about, security shouldn’t pose a concern. “The mayor of Middletown and its citizens have nothing to fear from Mr. Morgan, who will be in a secure facility,” Morgan’s attorney assured.
However many decades Morgan is held, here’s hoping the sentence provides some semblance of closure for Justin-Jinich’s family, friends, and anyone impacted by the shooting. Here’s the full story via Hartford Courant.