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Suspect In Wesleyan Killing Opts For Bench Trial

By DAVE COLLINS
Associated Press

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (AP) – A man charged in the shooting death of a Wesleyan University student has chosen to have a three-judge panel hear his murder trial.

Thirty-one-year-old Stephen Morgan of Marblehead, Mass., appeared Thursday morning in Middletown Superior Court. He said he understood his rights and that he may face 25 to 75 years in prison or a state mental hospital.

He’s charged in the May 2009 killing of 21-year-old Johanna Justin-Jinich of Timnath, Colo., in a bookstore cafe near the Middletown campus.

His six-day trial is to begin Nov. 30.

Morgan’s lawyer is expected to mount a defense of mental disease or defect. Such defendants often choose three-judge panels because of the complex legal issues.

Police say Morgan killed Justin-Jinich two years after she filed a harassment complaint against him when they attended New York University.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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