, Salem, MA

July 20, 2011

Mental evaluation will continue for suspect in Wesleyan shooting

By Dave Collins
Associated PRess

A state-hired psychiatrist has finished his interviews with a Marblehead man charged with killing a Wesleyan University student in 2009 and needs several more weeks to complete the mental health evaluation that has stalled the case for months, a prosecutor told a judge yesterday.

Stephen P. Morgan, 31, appeared briefly yesterday before Judge Susan B. Handy in Middletown Superior Court in Middletown, Conn. He has pleaded not guilty to murder and other crimes in the shooting death of 21-year-old Johanna Justin-Jinich of Timnath, Colo., at a bookstore cafe just off the campus of the private liberal arts school.

Morgan's lawyer is expected to mount an insanity defense, but delays in the psychiatric testing have slowed the case. An expert hired by the state became ill and couldn't finish the report, forcing State's Attorney Timothy Liston to hire another psychiatrist earlier this year.

Liston said yesterday that the new psychiatrist, Dr. Donald Grayson, has met with Morgan and will now review his notes, police reports and other information needed to complete his report, which is expected to be ready by Morgan's next court hearing on Aug. 23. Liston says the case can't move forward without the report.

A psychiatrist for the defense has already evaluated Morgan, but defense lawyer Richard Brown has declined to release the results. Brown said he expects the findings of the two reports to be the same.

"Obviously, all parties are interested in having this resolved," Brown said.

Morgan's trial is expected to be held in the fall, provided he doesn't agree to a plea bargain.

Morgan attended Marblehead's private Tower School and graduated from Danvers' St. John's Prep in 1998.

Morgan didn't say anything as he appeared in court yesterday wearing a prison jumpsuit and leg shackles. He has been keeping his hair close-cropped, much shorter than when he was arrested.

His parents were also in court yesterday and left without commenting.

Police say Justin-Jinich was working at The Red and Black Cafe inside Broad Street Books on May 6, 2009, when Morgan walked in wearing a wig and shot her several times. He surrendered to police a day after the killing.

Authorities said Justin-Jinich and Morgan knew each other since at least 2007, when they were enrolled in a summer class at New York University and she filed a harassment complaint against him. The complaint said Morgan had called her repeatedly and sent her insulting emails, but no criminal charges were filed.

The shooting put people on the Wesleyan campus on edge. Police found a journal in the bookstore in which they say Morgan wrote about killing Justin-Jinich and about going on a campus shooting spree targeting Jews. Justin-Jinich's family is Jewish, and her grandmother was a Holocaust survivor.

Justin-Jinich was a year away from graduating from the 2,900-student college in Middletown, about 20 miles south of Hartford. School officials said she planned to go to graduate school to study international public health, particularly women's access to health care and reproductive rights.

Last year, Wesleyan students helped create a clinic specializing in women's health and named after Justin-Jinich in the Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya.