This is part two of a three part series on the exoneration of Guy Paul Morin. Part one looked at the murder of Morin’s 9-year-old neighbour Christine Jessop, the police investigation and the arrest of Morin. On this episode I look back at Morin’s two trials.
Before the first trial began, Guy Paul Morin’s lawyer Clayton Ruby asked Morin to undergo a psychiatric assessment. Ruby wanted to be able to say Morin was insane if he was found guilty. Morin was against the idea but Ruby threatened to quit so Morin relented.
Ruby had Morin assessed by two doctors who both concluded that Morin was a deeply sick schizophrenic. They said he was one of a handful of people with characteristics that would enable them to sexually assault and kill a young girl in a psychotic rage.
Guy Paul Morin’s first trial began on January 10, 1986, nearly 10 months after he was arrested. The trial heard from Robert Dean May and Mr. X. who said Morin had confessed to the killing while in jail. An undercover police officer who was placed in Morin’s cell also testified. He told the court Morin acted strangely while they shared a cell and imitated a character from the movie The Shining by repeatedly saying “REDRUM” which is murder spelled backwards. The prosecution also introduced hair and fibre evidence that an analyst said linked Morin to the crime.
Before Ruby wrapped up his defence he decided to call the psychiatric evidence which came as a shock to everyone following the trial. Ruby said if the jury decided that Morin caused Christine’s death they should conclude he was insane at the time. But in the end the psychiatric evidence didn’t matter because the jury found Morin not guilty.
The Crown appealed and a new trial was ordered based on errors made by the judge in his charge to the jury. Morin was released on bail awaiting his new trial and moved back into his parents house next store to the Jessops in Queensville, Ontario.
The second trial began in November 1991 and included much of the same evidence as the first trial. But there were some important differences. Morin’s new lawyer Jack Pinkofsky did not call the psychiatric evidence and the court ruled that the undercover officer placed in Morin’s cell would not be allowed to testify. However, there was some shocking new evidence from Christine’s older brother Kenny Jessop. He told the court that he and Christine were sexually abused by two boys who lived next door to the family for four years.
This trial dragged on for 9 months and heard from over 100 witnesses. And when it was over this time Morin was found guilty of first degree murder. He received an automatic sentence of life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years. His lawyer promised to appeal the verdict.