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Man guilty in stabbing death of single mom

Frederick John Morgan is sent to prison for life, with no parole.

By JAMAL THALJI
Published June 1, 2007


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photo
[Times photo: Zach Boyden-Holmes]
Adriann DeGrandchamp holds a picture of her mother, Lynn Vincent, as she awaits a verdict in the first-degree murder trial of Frederick John Morgan, who was sentenced to life in prison for the brutal 2005 stabbing death of Vincent.

NEW PORT RICHEY -- It was judgment day for Frederick John Morgan.

The jury of eight women and four men judged the 46-year-old New Port Richey man guilty Thursday of first-degree murder.

Circuit Judge William Webb judged Morgan worthy of the maximum sentence: life in prison, no parole.

And the family of slain single mother Lynn Marie Vincent judged the character of the man convicted of brutally slashing and stabbing her to death as she lay in bed May 15, 2005.

"You truly are a coward, a bottom-feeder, a menace to society," Vincent's brother, Scott Holzhauer, 39, told Morgan in court. "I wish you could endure the same type of pain, suffering and death you inflicted on Lynn.

"Unfortunately that wish cannot come true. I only wish that you suffer in prison for the rest of your life.

"May you rot in hell."

The verdict came an hour and 45 minutes after closing arguments Thursday morning.

Morgan, in a blue blazer and gray pants, betrayed no emotion during the verdict or sentencing.

He chose not to testify on his own behalf. But then his own words, relayed to the jury by state witnesses, had already damaged his cause enough.

In statements to detectives, Morgan denied he killed Vincent and blamed someone else for the murder. But no one else was charged in the crime. And, in conflicting statements, Morgan told detectives he broke into her home looking for drugs.

Then witnesses said Morgan blabbed about the murder to two others. They told jurors how he bragged of the slaying, disposed of the knife and burned his bloody clothes.

And there was damning physical evidence: a glove found on Vincent's body, soaked in her blood and Morgan's. The state said Morgan cut himself while attacking Vincent.

Attorney Keith Hammond tried to make that glove the centerpiece of the defense.

Morgan told detectives he wore the glove when he and someone else broke into the home, but he ripped it off his hand and left before Vincent was killed.

The glove's fingers were found tucked under the left elbow of the victim -- an awkward place to leave the glove, the lawyer argued, if one intended to kill.

"Yes the glove is important," Hammond told the jury. "It has DNA on it. But logically it doesn't fit the state's case. It fits abandoning and leaving."

Pinellas-Pasco Assistant State Attorney Mike Halkitis ridiculed that interpretation, and any other that didn't end with Morgan holding the knife.

"If you think that," he told the jury, "then you're in the wrong courtroom."

Afterward the verdict, the victim's children, Adriann DeGrandchamp, 27, and her 17-year-old brother, James, spoke fondly of "Mamaw." That's what grandchild Kayliana Quiver, now 8, called her grandma.

Vincent was 42 when she died.

"My mother always said she was too young to be called grandmother," Adriann DeGrandchamp said.

Two years was a long wait, she said, for this day. "I'm just glad to finally get justice for my mother," Adriann said. "Now maybe she can rest in peace."

"She will," James said.

Jamal Thalji can be reached at thalji@sptimes.com or (727) 869-6236.

[Last modified May 31, 2007, 22:57:54]


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