North Stonington collector agrees to sell guns to resolve domestic charges

A North Stonington gun collector who was involved in a domestic dispute with his wife and teenage daughter on Christmas Day in 2011 has agreed to sell his extensive firearms collection if he is allowed to apply for diversionary court programs that would result in the dismissal of his charges.

Elbert Morgan Jr., 49, of 15 Pendleton Hill Road was set to go on trial Wednesday in New London Superior Court when his attorney, Rachel M. Baird, struck a deal with prosecutor Mary Jean Kanabis. Judge Hillary B. Strackbein, who oversaw the plea negotiations, put the details on the record in open court.

The judge said the 91 guns that state police seized from Morgan following the incident will be "disposed of by sale." Morgan will be able to apply for the accelerated rehabilitation program, which allows first time offenders to have their charges dismissed after completing a probationary period, and for a family violence education program that involves classes and counseling.

According to a police report, state police seized long guns, handguns and gun parts after his wife, who has since filed for divorce, reported that Morgan had pushed down their teenage daughter, shook her and held her by the wrists for an extended period of time.

The wife told the responding trooper that Morgan "sits and watches TV holding a rifle in his arms," and subscribes to Soldier of Fortune and numerous other types of gun and survival magazines. She said he suffers from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and depression and takes Paxil, a drug that treats those conditions. She said she is afraid he will "snap" and kill her and the daughter.

Morgan, who works as a mechanic, is represented by Baird, a Torrington attorney who specializes in firearms law. She noted in pretrial court filings that the charges against Morgan don't involve allegations that he used or threatened to use firearms in the presence of the victims. Morgan has no prior convictions.

Morgan was charged with risk of injury to a minor, second-degree breach of peace and second-degree unlawful restraint.

As part of the plea deal that Morgan accepted, court officials will evaluate whether Morgan qualifies for the diversionary programs and the victims will have the option of arguing against the deal at a Nov. 20 court appearance.

According to Kanabis, Morgan will have to transfer each of his guns, which are currently in state police possession, to a dealer who has a Federal Firearms License. It is unclear whether he would be allowed to possess guns in the future.

k.florin@theday.com

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