MIDDLETOWN ——A long-awaited state mental health report on the man accused of fatally shooting a Wesleyan University student should be complete in about a month, Middlesex State's Attorney Timothy J. Liston said Tuesday.
Liston was in court for a hearing in the case against Stephen Morgan, 31, of Marblehead, Mass. Morgan has pleaded not guilty to killing Wesleyan junior Johanna Justin-Jinich, 21, of Timnath, Colo., inside a bookstore cafe near campus in May 2009.
The expert hired by the state has met with Morgan twice. The expert still must review police reports and other documents related to the case before completing his own report, Liston said.
"It's going to take him some time to go through that," Liston said. He said that "optimistically" he expected the results of the mental health exams by mid-August. Judge Susan Handy continued Morgan's case to Aug. 23 but said if the report was not ready next month, she would postpone the hearing.
Richard R. Brown, Morgan's attorney, has expressed frustration at the case's being stalled awaiting the report. Brown said he hopes to bring the case to trial in the fall. Brown said the defense has not decided whether a jury or three-judge panel will hear the case.
"It's getting to the point where the judge wants to move it along," Brown said Tuesday.
The state's evaluations were delayed after prosecutors' first mental health expert, hired in August 2010, became ill and was unable to complete them.
Brown has said he expects the state's expert to reach the same conclusions the defense experts reached about Morgan's mental health at the time of the slaying. Brown has not released the results of those findings.
The shooting, at the Red & Black Cafe inside Broad Street Books, prompted a nearly two-day campus lockdown and search for Morgan. He eventually turned himself in the night after the shooting.
According to New York City police, Morgan had threatened Justin-Jinich in 2007 when they attended a New York University summer program. Police said a journal they believe belonged to Morgan contains writings about a killing spree targeting Jewish people and "beautiful and smart" Wesleyan students, according to court records. Justin-Jinich came from a Jewish family, and her grandmother was a Holocaust survivor.
Morgan is charged with murder, intimidation based on bigotry or bias, and carrying a pistol without a permit. He is at Garner Correctional Institution in Newtown.