Man gets six-year sentence for terrorizing couple

Threatened victims, saying, 'I'm going to do the worst crime Newfoundland has ever seen'

Tara Bradbury
Published on April 28, 2012
Paul Justin Morgan sits in provincial court prior to his sentencing Friday morning. The 30-year-old St. John's man was sentenced to six years in prison in connection with a brutal stabbing in Kilbride last December. -Photo by Tara Bradbury/The Telegram

Holding his ex-girlfriend and her friend hostage in a Kilbride home late last year, Paul Justin Morgan told them no one was getting out of the house alive.

"The cops are going to shoot me tonight," he said. "I'm going to do the worst crime Newfoundland has ever seen. I'm going to chop both your heads off."

Morgan, 30, was sentenced to six years in prison Friday morning on two charges of forcible confinement, assault with a weapon, aggravated assault, attempted robbery and breaching court orders.

In exchange for guilty pleas, other charges - including one of attempted murder - were withdrawn by the Crown.

Provincial court Judge Colin Flynn accepted a joint submission by Crown prosecutor Wendy Zdebiak and defence lawyer Jeff Brace on sentencing, giving Morgan credit for the 4 1/2 months he's already spent in custody.

The court heard that Morgan went to the home where his ex-girlfriend, 29, and her male friend, 44, were shortly before 7 a.m. on Dec. 14, 2011, and cut the phone cords. The woman had broken up with him days prior, and Morgan had gone on a two-day alcohol and morphine-injecting binge.

Demanding money, alcohol and methadone, he punched, kicked, head-butted and dragged the woman by the hair, and stabbed her in the leg and shoulder.

He went to the bedroom where the man was sleeping and punched him and stabbed him 12 times with two kitchen knives, including once in the face.

"He kept snapping out of it, looking down at his hands and the blood and saying, 'Oh my God, what am I doing? I need help,'" the woman said in her statement to police.

The male victim told the police he had pleaded with Morgan for his life.

"I asked him not to kill me, because I have two kids. I honestly thought he was going to kill me," he said.

At one point, Morgan, laughing and holding the blunt side of a knife to the woman's throat, told her, "Have a nice trip to hell, bitch."

When the man - who later required a blood transfusion because of his injuries - began turning cold and getting pale, the woman got a blanket and wrapped him in it. She told Morgan he was going to die if they didn't get help.

"He said, 'Call an ambulance - no, f--k him, he'll die slowly anyway,'" she told police.

The woman was eventually able to escape and run to a neighbour's house, with Morgan chasing her. The neighbour let her in and called 911.

When RNC officers arrived, they found Morgan outside, his hands and clothes covered in blood, carrying two long kitchen knives. Taken into custody at gunpoint, Morgan told the officers, "I would have got you, too."

Entering the house, the police found it splattered in blood.

The two victims were taken to hospital, treated and released - the woman right away, the man later that day.

Flynn, in bringing down his sentence, described the incident as horrific.

"It's an understatement to say the circumstances of Dec. 14 would have been horrific for the people involved," he said.

"With all that went on during that time period ... it does call for a pretty substantial period of incarceration."

Morgan also pleaded guilty to unrelated charges from earlier last fall, including one of damage to property, related to an incident at the Health Sciences Centre, where he broke a parking lot gate.

His criminal record includes previous convictions for assault and possession of weapons, as well as a one-year prison term for forcible confinement.

Brace acknowledged the seriousness of his client's crimes, and said it was because of rage fuelled by drugs and alcohol.

Brace said, knowing how much alcohol Morgan had consumed that day, it's a wonder he hadn't died.

"While there are no promises and guarantees when it comes to Mr. Morgan, he's actually looking forward to getting treatment in a federal prison," Brace told the court.

When asked by Flynn if he had anything to say, Morgan said he wanted to apologize to his victims, specifically the man, who was in the courtroom. Twitter: @tara_bradbury