Police: 'Suicidal' Lexington murder suspect taken to Eastern State Hospital days before shooting

Published: Feb. 6, 2018 at 11:26 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

Lexington police say one person has died and one person is charged with murder following a Tuesday night shooting at an apartment on Squires Woods Way.

Police responded to the area around 9:55 p.m. where officers found a man's body on the front porch with an apparent gunshot wound. The Fayette County Coroner's Office identified the man as 19-year-old Christopher Spencer. The victim was moved from the porch and was pronounced dead at the scene after suffering multiple gunshot wounds.

Police say the suspect was also holding a female against her will inside the apartment.

After several hours of negotiations, the suspect and the female exited the home, and the suspect was arrested by officers.

The suspect has been identified as Morgan Taylor Johnson, 21, of Lexington. He is charged him with murder, kidnapping, rape and burglary. His bond is set at $250,000 cash.

Lexington police say they responded to the same home Jan. 31. Johnson was at the home, and authorities say he was suicidal at the time of the call. Officers took Johnson to Eastern State Hospital for an emergency detention. Police say they are unsure how long Johnson remained inside at the mental health facility.

According to Eastern State Hospital policy, a qualified mental health professional first evaluates people brought by an officer and determine if they meet criteria for involuntary hospitalization. They say a hospital provider then does an evaluation, if meeting the criteria through that they are then admitted. From there a hospital spokesperson says the length of stay depends on a combination of the patient's legal status and the attending physician’s assessment of the patient’s condition.

If they do not meet the hospital's criteria, they are released.

Many neighbors in the area say they are still shaken up by what went on just outside their window.

"Really feel bad for the woman, because apparently, she might be a rape victim as well which makes the story two times worse than what I thought it was which no one deserves that,” one neighbor, who did not want to be identified, told WKYT.

"You don't expect things like this to happen. Especially for victims of something and they didn't do anything. It's not fair, they maybe had kids, maybe not, but they are definitely someone else's kid, someone lost a kid last night," the neighbor said.

visitation will take place from 5-8 p.m. Friday at Kerr Brothers Funeral Home on Main Street. Funeral services will take place Saturday at Davis and Davis Funeral Home in Stanton. The family asks for donations to be sent to the Powell County Search and Rescue Department in memory of Spencer.

Friends said Spencer had a cheerful personality and loved the outdoors. They said he came from a good family and was brought up the right way. They said he never asked for much, and was always willing to help others.

"He was a friend. He was a great guy. And it was a life that was taken shortly," said Alex Middleton, who knew Spencer for more than a decade. "It's just amazing how simple he was. He didn't need much of anything. That's just how we all need to be, too."