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Gilday assault charge sent to grand jury, attorney hints at mental insanity defense

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Posted at 11:24 AM, May 04, 2022

RICHMOND, Ky. (LEX 18) — Speaking after a preliminary hearing for his client, Shannon Gilday, attorney Tom Griffiths sounded as if he’s going to lean on a mental insanity defense for his client, though he wouldn’t confirm as much.

“All I can say is that it’s clear to me from all of the evidence, even though it’s in the early stages of this case, that Shannon is profoundly mentally ill,” Mr. Griffiths said.

Gilday, who is being held at the Madison County Detention Center in connection to the March shooting death of Jordan Morgan, was hit with additional charges of assault and strangulation of a corrections officer following an alleged attack inside the jail facility. That evidence was waived to a grand jury with probable cause at the conclusion of Wednesday’s hearing.

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According to police, Gilday drove from his northern Kentucky home to the home of former State Representative, C. Wesley Morgan in Madison County where they say he shot and killed Morgan’s daughter, an attorney in Lexington. Mr. Morgan apparently exchanged gunfire with Gilday and may have wounded him. Gilday got away and spent several days on the run before being arrested on Barnes Mill Road near I-75 in Richmond.

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When asked if Gilday may have been provoked before the detention center incident, Mr. Griffiths didn’t seem to think that was the case, again referencing his client’s mental health.

“It’s pretty clear to me that he has mental issues and we’re going to have to get an expert in to examine him and be able to understand them, number one, and explain them to a court,” Griffiths said. “The state of Shannon’s mind is not like yours or mine, and we’re going to try as hard as we can to understand that,” he continued.

Gilday is scheduled for an appearance in Madison County Circuit Court on May 12th, when his attorney said proceedings will begin on the murder trial.