An Edmond man awaiting sentencing for the brutal killing of a transient is not a psychopath and should be considered a low risk to reoffend, an expert witness testified Thursday.
Robert Morgan, a Texas-based scientist and psychologist, tested Connor Mason on behalf of his attorneys. Morgan told a judge that while Mason is socially disconnected and suffers from depression, his crime was an isolated incident.
“An isolated incident doesn't make one a psychopath,” Morgan said.
Mason, 22, pleaded guilty in May to first-degree murder in the Oct. 18, 2009, death of Dwite Morgan, 54, also known around Edmond as Bicycle Bob.
Morgan was stabbed 40 times in the head and neck area and struck twice in the head with a hammer, an Edmond police officer testified Thursday. Both weapons were damaged during the attack, and small pieces of the knife blade were found embedded in Morgan's skull and hand, the officer said.
Morgan also had stab wounds to his back and stomach, and his left ring finger was amputated.
“The most brutal murder scene I've ever seen,” officer Mark Oak said.
Prosecutors called Mason an evil man who should be locked up for the rest of his life.
“This is not a nice young man,” Oklahoma County Assistant District Attorney Clayton Niemeyer said. “I'm scared of him. We should all be.”
District Judge Jerry D. Bass will decide punishment Friday. Mason faces a possible sentence of life in prison with or without the possibility of parole. He has already been incarcerated for three years.
Defense attorneys, citing Mason's jailhouse conversion to Catholicism, asked the judge to suspend all but the first 25 years of a life sentence and allow their client to spend his remaining days in a monastery while being supervised by the state Corrections Department.
A deacon who ministers to inmates at the Oklahoma County jail said Mason was “the kind of young man you'd like to have for a son.”
“He's one of the most sincere conversions I've seen,” Roy Forsythe testified.
On cross-examination, Forsythe said he believed in redemption for sinners.
Mason's attorneys characterized him as a follower who was easily influenced by his small circle of friends, among them co-defendant Nikolas David Kerr, who pleaded guilty to a lesser crime and received a suspended sentence in exchange for testifying.
Attorney Shawn Jefferson suggested that Kerr influenced Mason's decision to kill Morgan and that Mason didn't act alone.
Mason's mother also took the stand and said she sheltered her son over a 10-year period to protect him from his abusive father.
Lisa Adams tearfully recounted more than two decades of emotional and physical abuse by her husband, Joe Mason, saying he routinely degraded their son and assaulted him when he intervened in their fights.
Adams testified about her son becoming more and more withdrawn as she tried to keep him separated from his abusive father.
“He retreated to his room to get away from the constant abuse,” Adams said. “I made sure he had all the latest (video) games.”
Joe Mason, she testified, badly beat his son in 2008 after she left and Connor Mason would not disclose her whereabouts.
Adams, however, said her son's upbringing did not justify murdering Morgan.
“I am absolutely not justifying what Connor did,” she said. “It breaks my heart.”