Accused Killer Who Said Howard Stern Spoke to Him Judged Insane

Morgan could be committed for as long as 75 years

The man who killed a Wesleyan co-ed and said Howard Stern was communicating secret messages to him was found not guilty by reason of insanity.

Stephen Morgan was charged with killing 21-year-old Johanna Justin-Jinich at an off-campus bookstore café in May 2009. Defense attorneys told the judges Morgan was insane when he committed the crime, and that his actions were guided by mysterious messages from the radio personality. A psychiatrist testified Morgan believed Justin-Jinich was hacking into his computer and watching him, and that he showed signs of paranoid schizophrenia.

Testimony and evidence at the trial has suggested that Morgan became infatuated with Justin-Jinich when the two met at New York University in 2007 and harassed her in emails and phone calls.

"There are no winners here," said Dick Brown, Morgan's defense attorney.

Morgan's family cried after the verdict was read.  They expressed relief that Morgan will get the help they say he needs, but also expressed sorrow for Justin-Jinich's family and friends.

Although the family of Justin-Jinich spent most of the last three weeks in court, they were not present for the verdict Friday.

Daniel Jinich, the victim's father, released a statement Friday.

"During this difficult time we were moved by the outpourings of kindness and gentleness expressed my many people in Middletown who we did not know but who in their own way reached out to us to express sympathy and compassion," Jinich said.

Morgan was immediately taken to Whiting Forensic Institute in Hartford.  The state will have 60 days to evaluate Morgan's mental health.  He will be back in court Feb. 29, when the same three-judge panel will determine how long Morgan should be committed.  It could be as long as 75 years.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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