Man accused of murdering grandmother, wounding four others released from hospital Thursday

Accused of murdering his grandmother and wounding four others, Aaron Morgan, 28, was released from the hospital Thursday after being treated for wounds he sustained while fleeing arrest.

A Baton Rouge man accused of stabbing his grandmother to death, wounding his mother with a knife and shooting three others during an Aug. 1 rampage will be examined to determine whether he is competent to assist in his defense, a judge has decided.

State District Judge Christopher Dassau has appointed psychiatrist Jose Artecona and psychologist David Hale to evaluate Aaron Morgan, 28.

The judge scheduled a sanity hearing for Dec. 16.

Morgan's attorney, Assistant Public Defender Margaret Lagattuta, wrote in a motion filed Aug. 26 that her client "may lack the mental competency to assist in the defense of this matter based on observations of defendant's counsel and investigators; and/or information from the defendant's family."

"The accused may have been suffering from mental illness at the time of the alleged commission of the crime, and as a result thereof, is not responsible under the law for whatever actions he may have done at that time," she wrote.

Dassau appointed the two-member sanity commission on Sept. 16.

Morgan was taken into custody Aug. 1 after his grandmother, Dianne Gafford, 78, was found with multiple stab wounds, severe facial bruising and a plastic strap around her neck, an arrest warrant states.

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After attacking his grandmother, Morgan encountered his mother, who had driven to the house after her own mom called earlier to say Morgan was acting strange, the warrant says. Morgan then stabbed his mother and left in her car.

He proceeded to a strip mall parking lot on Highland Road, where he shot three people while trying to steal their cars, then found an SUV that someone left unlocked and running, according to the warrant.

Morgan fled again to a CVS on Jefferson Highway. There, he ditched the SUV and shot at a "concerned citizen" who pulled in behind him, contacted law enforcement and gave them accurate location information as the situation unfolded, the warrant says. That person received only minor injuries from shattered glass when a bullet struck the front passenger window, deputies said.

Deputies finally managed to detain Morgan at Jefferson Highway and Bluebonnet Boulevard after shooting him twice. The warrant says he pointed his gun at deputies. Morgan was hospitalized and treated for those bullet wounds.

He was booked on one count each of first-degree murder, attempted aggravated burglary and theft of a firearm; five counts of attempted murder; two counts each of carjacking, vehicle theft, and illegal use of a weapon; three counts of aggravated damage to property; and five counts of aggravated assault on a peace officer.


Email Joe Gyan Jr. at jgyan@theadvocate.com.