, Salem, MA


July 20, 2011

Mental evaluation will continue for suspect in Wesleyan shooting

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.

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