Stephen P. Morgan, the suspect accused of fatally shooting Johanna Justin-Jinich ’10 while she was working at Red and Black Café in May, appeared again in the Middletown Superior Court last week after a long summer with seemingly little advancement in the trial. Morgan pled not guilty to three charges—murder, carrying a pistol without a permit, and first-degree intimidation based on bigotry or bias.

During Morgan’s first significant court appearance on June 9, Morgan pled not guilty to the charge of murder. While Morgan’s defense remains unclear, Attorney Richard R. Brown, Morgan’s defense lawyer, said that he has not ruled out the possibility of a “mental health defense,” according to an article published in The Middletown Press.

Morgan also waived his right to a probable cause hearing at his June 9 court date. Under Conn. state law, any defendant accused of a crime that could lead to life imprisonment has the option of undergoing a hearing that decides if it is reasonable to believe that the suspect actually committed the crime. According to an article printed in The Hartford Courant after the June 9 court date, Brown chose to opt out of this option due to the fact that evidence provided in the hearing can then be used in the court case. Brown argued that this could work against the defense if certain witnesses are able to appear at the hearing, but not at the trial.

At the June court hearing, the State’s Attorney Timothy J. Liston filed two more charges: carrying a pistol without a permit and first-degree intimidation based on bigotry or bias – a hate crime charge. Morgan pleaded not guilty to each of these new charges.

At the most recent pretrial hearing on Wednesday, Sept. 2, Brown told the judge he wanted access to the results of tests being conducted on evidence for the trial. One such piece of evidence is Morgan’s laptop computer, which, according to an article printed in The New York Times, was found in Morgan’s parked car in the Red and Black Café parking lot shortly following the murder. The items requested by Morgan’s lawyer are presently under review at the state police forensic laboratory.

According to an article in The Hartford Courant, Morgan will appear again at the Superior Court in Middletown on Oct. 20.

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