A former U.S. soldier attempted to plea guilty but mentally ill to the murder of the daughter of a former Kentucky lawmaker whose $6.5 million home he allegedly stalked because he believed it had a fallout shelter.
A judge denied the plea of Shannon Gilday, 23, during his arraignment hearing on Thursday for allegedly shooting dead Jordan Morgan, 32, the former Assistant Commonwealth Attorney and daughter of former Kentucky State Rep. C. Wesley Morgan, 71, on February 22.
Police said Gilday’s research into Kentucky homes that contained doomsday bunkers led him to Wesley’s home in Richmond, Kentucky, which had an elaborate underground shelter that Wesley, a Republican, had built when Barack Obama became president.
Another hearing will be held on Monday to discuss the plea as Gilday’s attorney, Tom Griffiths, told the Lexington Herald-Leader that his client is mentally ill and wanted to avoid a lengthy trial and accept culpability for what he’s allegedly done.
‘It is not good for the victims, and not good for the community,’ Griffiths said of the trial. ‘It doesn’t serve anybody, and rather than put everyone through that (Gilday) wanted to accept responsibility.’
A plea of guilty but mentally ill does not alter the sentence a defendant would receive if they were found guilty but does allow a court to determine what treatment the defendant requires for their mental illness.
Shannon Gilday (above), 23, tried to plead guilty but mentally ill on Thursday for allegedly shooting dead Jordan Morgan, daughter of former Kentucky State Rep. C. Wesley Morgan
Jordan (above) was shot dead when Gilday allegedly broke into her family’s home in Richmond, Kentucky, and opened fire on the family on February 22
Police say suspect Gilday forced his way into Morgan’s $6.5 million mansion in Richmond at around 4am last Tuesday armed with a rifle
The 2,000-square-foot, steel-enforced bunker itself is said to be worth $3million. Gilday’s mother said her son thinks a nuclear war is coming and spoke of building a bunker
‘(Gilday) feels terrible about what happened and what he did and knows there is no way he can make it right, but, one thing he can do is accept responsibility in court so that this is not hanging over everyone’s head,’ Griffiths added.
Gilday’s arrest warrant said notes found in his apartment by a friend hours after he allegedly killed Jordan showed that he was researching the home and observing the Morgan family, even tracking their sleeping schedules, WXIX reported.
During the pre-trail hearing that month, Kentucky Police Detective Camron Allen told the court that Gilday, ‘stated he had prepared himself to force his way into the residence by any means necessary.
‘He had done surveillance multiple times and had tried to access the bunker through a tunnel but was unable to do so,’ Allen said. ‘He told me he was willing to kill everyone inside the residence if necessary in order to access the bunker.’
Gilday’s mother Katie had also written on Facebook that her son was not of ‘sound mind’ and was ‘distraught with the certainty a nuclear war is imminent.’
A listing for the house shows that it contains a shelter 26 feet underground with a 39-inch solid concrete ceiling and 15-inch walls.
Gilday was arraigned in March in Madison County District Court where he was charged with murder, first-degree burglary, first-degree criminal mischief, first-degree assault, and two counts of attempted murder.
Jordan, left, was described by friends and family as kind, loving and intelligent. She is pictured at the Kentucky Derby and with her father at her law school graduation (right)
Gilday was arraigned in March in Madison County District Court and was charged with murder, burglary in the first degree, criminal mischief, assault, and two counts of attempted murder
The bunker is 26 feet below ground with a 39 inch thick ceiling and 15 inch thick walls. It was built to survive the strongest earthquake
Morgan’s home was listed for sale last year and was advertised complete with a nuclear bunker and able to withstand nuclear attack and the strongest of earthquakes. Pictured, the food reserves
The friend who found the Gilday’s notes told police he was supposed to meet up with Gilday on February 22 at 11 a.m., hours after Gilday allegedly broke into the Morgan home with a rifle.
When he didn’t show, Gilday’s friend went inside the apartment where he found the notes and directions from Taylor Mill to the mansion in Richmond, according to the arrest warrant.
After shooting the 32-year-old, police say he exchanged gunfire with her father before he fled, injuring both Morgan and his wife.
Last year, Wesley listed his 14,300-square-foot, six bedroom, seven bathroom mansion for sale.
It comes complete with a saltwater pool, steam sauna and heated floors set on 200 acres of lakefront property.
However, perhaps its most unusual feature is a 2,000-square-foot, fully stocked underground bunker set behind a huge steel and concrete door.
The $6.5million listing advertised the home as being able to withstand nuclear attack and described by realtors as being ‘the most secure home on the market in this country,’
The bunker is said to contain a 2,000-square-foot, steel-enforced bunker itself said to be worth $3 million.
‘It is built to withstand a Seismic 12 earthquake, has 3 air filtrations from Switzerland and 2 escape tunnels, one is approximately 100 yards long,’ the realtors wrote in the listing.
Jordan Morgan, described by friends as a popular and passionate young lawyer, was shot and killed in a home invasion on February 22
Gilday’s mom, Katie, detailed her son’s delusions in a Facebook post advising him to turn himself in so he can get the help he needs
Wesley, a former Republican Kentucky State Representative, has since been released from hospital and is expected to recover from his minor wounds, but in an emotional statement in March, he told how he will never get over the death of his first-born child.
‘I’m heartbroken,’ he said as he audibly started crying. ‘I can’t understand why, and would give anything on this Earth if it would have been me rather than her.
‘I’d much rather it’d been me.’
Wesley said he was with his daughter, watching TV, just hours before the shooting.
Gilday’s mother, Katie, detailed her son’s delusions in a Facebook post advising him to turn himself in so he can get the help he needs.
‘He spoke of building a bunker and the CIA following him,’ she wrote.
‘I tried to get him psychiatric help but to no avail.’
Former Kentucky state Rep. Wesley Morgan, right, built an underground bunker when Barack Obama was elected president. Gilday shot and killed his daughter Jordan, left, last week
Gilday once harbored ambitions of becoming a doctor in the Army. He revealed this aspiration during his time as a student studying Bioengineering at the University of Hawaii at Manoa where he was on an ROTC scholarship.
On November 3, 2017, an enthusiastic Facebook post revealed ‘MIS Gilday,’ as ‘Cadet of the Week.’
His commander noted Gilday’s ‘enthusiasm and openness to learning.’ He was described as a ‘shining light’ in the class whose dedication had earned him tuition waiver.
The commander concluded, ‘We are excited to see what is in store for him.’
For his part, Gilday wrote that he decided to join the Army ROTC because, he viewed it as, ‘one of the few bastions of chivalry and apolitical service to the people.’
He continued: ‘One of the aspects of Warrior Battalion I most particularly appreciate is the high standards it sets for its Cadets. We are always motivated to excel academically, athletically and as leaders.’
He said that his membership of the program had ‘pushed’ him to set ‘higher standards of discipline’ for himself and to ‘act honorably and respectfully’ among his peers.
His listed as his favorite memory ‘the night of the land navigation’ during which he had ‘scoured dense vegetation’ and ended the day telling stories beneath the starts with fellow cadets.
He professed his hope to become an Army medic and belief that his time with Warrior Battalion would equip him with ‘the necessary skills’ he needed to succeed.
Gilday’s mentor in Hawaii said it’s possible the skills Gilday, above, learned in training helped him remain on the lam from last Tuesday until he was caught early Monday morning
Vince Gilday as a child. The ex-soldier left Hawaii under a cloud over money he owed a drug dealer but then joined the army in Fort Huachuca, Arizona where he ran into disciplinary problems after fighting another soldier
In posts on his Instagram, Gilday portrays an ideal existence in Hawaii. In one post from August 2017 he wrote: ‘Moved in today, sun’s so bright here it screwed with some of my pics but I can’t complain when I’m out in it. I’m so lucky my perfect mom raised me to chase my dreams.’
He is understood to have fled the state while under pressure to pay a drug dealer he owed money.
His mentor in Hawaii, Jayo Alforque told DailyMail.com Gilday was an outlier who had trouble making friends.
Like all freshmen, they’re weird at first,’ Alforque said, adding: ‘He’s funny and willing to learn, he was always a loner that is why I took him under my wings and showed him how to be social.’
Gilday had been on the run since the time of the killing last week until early Monday morning.
Gilday spent time at the University of Hawaii at Manoa on an ROTC scholarship where his mentor described him as ‘an outlier who had trouble making friends’
Jordan had recently joined the Reminger law office in Lexington
Gilday joined the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) while studying Bioengineering at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, according to social media
Alforque said it’s possible the skills Gilday learned in training helped him remain on the lam.
‘We were taught to be ‘infantry” Alforque said. ‘Camouflage, stealth, and tactical.’
Gilday could be short-tempered at times, Alforque said, and was ‘easily triggered when he couldn’t finish a work or task I gave him while I was a senior Cadet.’
On one occasion, Gilday became so aggressive during a house party that Alforque said he had to ‘choke him out to sleep’ to bring him under control.
But he had his quiet side, too. He posted an Instagram video of himself playing classical guitar asking people for campfire song recommendations. When his cat comes in, he says he named him Wilhelm, ‘after the last German Kaiser.’
Before returning to Kentucky, Gilday joined the military in Fort Huachuca, Arizona, where he texted his mentor about being jailed for attacking another officer.
‘I started a fight and now they’re trying to throw me out of the Army,’ he texted Alforque, asking him to supply a character reference.
‘I definitely overreacted, but it’s not characteristic of what kind of soldier I am,’ he added.
He said military brass thought he was ‘not Army material because I can’t take orders.
‘But that’s not true,’ he texted. ‘I’ve been following orders fine the past year. I just overreacted because I was worried about money and stuff and I didn’t know the guy.’
He said he spent two months in military prison.