On December 8, 2023, after trial in Schenectady County Court, Jaquan Morrison was convicted of Murder in the Second Degree and related charges for fatally stabbing Dwayne Harris in the bedroom of apartment on Maple Avenue in Schenectady on April 12, 2022.
Witnesses described that, several days before the killing, Harris had allowed Morrison to stay at the Maple Avenue apartment that Harris shared with several other roommates. However, on the morning of April 12, Morrison provoked an incident with one of the other roommates that caused all of them to demand that Morrison be told to leave the home.
Several hours later, a witness reported hearing a fight from an upstairs apartment and coming to Harris’s room to find Morrison crouching over Harris and blood strewn about room. When police arrived and took the defendant into custody he was covered in Harris’s blood and admitted to having an altercation with him. Police then discovered a large kitchen knife with the victim’s blood on it in the bathroom of the apartment.
At trial Morrison advanced a defense that he was suffering from a delusional disorder and that he was not criminally responsible for the killing. After hearing from both defense and prosecution experts, the jury rejected that claim and found the defendant guilty.
District Attorney Robert M. Carney stated: “This is the second jury this year in a murder case that rejected a defense of lack of criminal responsibility by reason of a mental disease or defect. (The first being Nelson Patino). The theory in this case was that the defendant was suffering from delusions of persecution. It is likely that the jury found that he stabbed his friend Dwayne Harris 65 times causing his death in a fit of rage. He was angry, not insane. Mr. Harris suffered a vicious death at the hands of Mr. Morrison, and this verdict at least offers his family a measure of justice, thanks to the efforts and skill of my counsel Peter Willis, who tried it for our office.”
Warren County Court Judge Robert A. Smith presided over the trial. Assistant District Attorney Peter Willis prosecuted the matter and the defendant was represented by attorney Samantha Chorny. Sentencing will be set at a later date.