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Missouri professor not guilty by reason of insanity in stabbing death of colleague

The trial was delayed for several years in part by a series of mental evaluations.
Credit: AP
Missouri State history instructor Edward Gutting was found not guilty of first-degree murder of the stabbing death of colleague Marc Cooper by reason of mental disease or defect by Greene County Judge David Jones on Friday, June 2, 2023, in Springfield, Mo. (The Springfield News-Leader via AP)

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A former history professor at Missouri State University charged in the stabbing death of a colleague was found not guilty Friday by reason of insanity.

Greene County Judge David Jones announced his ruling in the case of Edward Gutting, who was charged with first-degree murder in the 2016 killing of Marc Cooper inside Cooper's Springfield home. Cooper's wife, Nancy, was injured but survived, the Springfield News-Leader reported.

The trial was delayed for several years in part by a series of mental evaluations. The judge's ruling followed a six-day trial.

Marc Cooper, 66, who had retired, suffered more than 40 stab wounds. Gutting's lawyers said the attack was the result of a schizophrenic hallucination. Gutting was diagnosed as mentally ill by several doctors after his arrest.

But prosecutors said Gutting killed Cooper in a rage fueled by alcohol and stress that stemmed from a series of work-related slights and insults. The tipping point, they said, was Gutting's belief that Cooper meddled in Gutting's pursuit of a tenured position.

No sentencing date was set but Jones said Gutting could be housed at a state mental health facility “for the rest of his life."

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