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Kentucky Man Accused of Killing Former GOP Lawmaker’s Attorney Daughter to Steal ‘Doomsday Bunker’ Wants to Plead Guilty but Mentally Ill


Shannon Gilday, accused of murdering attorney Jordan Morgan in her home

A Kentucky man accused of murdering the daughter of a former Republican state lawmaker has signaled his intent to enter a guilty plea. A motion to do exactly that was filed in court on Thursday.

Shannon Gilday, 23, stands accused of killing 32-year-old lawyer Jordan Morgan in late February of this year. Law enforcement believes the defendant likely sought out the so-called “doomsday bunker” within the multi-million-dollar Richmond, Ky. home.

“He stated he had prepared himself to force his way into the residence by any means necessary. He had done surveillance multiple times and had tried to access the bunker through a tunnel but was unable to do so,” Kentucky State Police Detective Camron Allen said at a March pre-trial hearing. “He told me he was willing to kill everyone inside the residence if necessary in order to access the bunker.”

As Law&Crime previously reported, Gilday allegedly studied the sleep schedules of the inhabitants before he attacked during the early morning hours of Feb. 22, 2022. Jordan Morgan was killed as she slept. The assailant then went looking for additional victims, police say.

“Gilday made his way downstairs and shot his way into the master bedroom where the homeowner, his wife, and minor daughter were all located,” his arrest warrant says. “The homeowner exchanged gunfire with Gilday and sustained multiple gunshot wounds.”

Gilday previously pleaded not guilty. Defense attorney Tom Griffiths says his client no longer disputes the allegations against him.

According to a report by Louisville, Ky.-based NBC affiliate WAVE, Griffiths told the court Gilday now “wants to do the right thing.” The motion filed says the defendant intends to plead guilty but mentally ill.

“This was the first opportunity to take responsibility and Gilday wanted to do that and asked to enter a plea for guilty mentally ill and he did that because he is in fact mentally ill – there is no question,” Griffiths told the Lexington Herald-Leader. “The facts of the case show that clearly.”

“[Gilday] answered all of the questions and gave a full interview to the police and everyone knows what happened,” the defense attorney continued. “[He] feels terrible about what happened and what he did and knows there is no way he can make it right, but, one thing he can do is accept responsibility in court so that this is not hanging over everyone’s head.”

The prosecutor in the case, however, preemptively asked the court to reject the plea, citing “issues” that could happen at a later time.

“My fear is, that because the commonwealth would ask for a sentencing hearing, where life, life without the possibility of parole, or death, would be on the table,” Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Jennifer Smith told the court, according to the TV station.

Criminal law experts say GBMI verdicts tend to result in substantially the same sentences as other guilty verdicts for violent crimes.

According to WAVE, Jordan Morgan’s father, former state representative Wesley Morgan, and others with him expressed opposition to the defendant being allowed to file “any guilty plea.”

The judge in the case scheduled a hearing on the motion for May 16, 2022.

“We will have a hearing on the issue of whether a plea of guilty but mentally ill is appropriate on Monday morning,” Smith told the Herald-Leader, reportedly declining to elaborate further.

Police say that the defendant made his way into the Morgan home by using scaffolding, then attacked his victims, and escaped. He was arrested after allegedly returning to the scene of the crime.

“Once he left Madison County and came back to carry out his means that he wanted to get back at that location,” Madison County Sheriff Mike Coyle said. “No telling what would’ve happened if he hadn’t been apprehended at that point in time.”

Earlier this month, Gilday appeared in court on charges of assault and strangulation in an entirely separate case after allegedly attacking a corrections officer who was serving him breakfast in April.

[image via Madison County Detention Center]

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