HomeTop StoriesEx-MSU instructor looked like a 'zombie' after stabbing colleague to death

Ex-MSU instructor looked like a ‘zombie’ after stabbing colleague to death

Edward Gutting, 50, who is charged with first-degree murder after allegedly murdering 66-year-old Marc Cooper during his trial at the Greene County Courthouse on Monday, May 22, 2023.

Several more witnesses for Edward Gutting’s defense took the stand on Thursday, the fourth day of the ex-Missouri State instructor’s murder trial.

Gutting is accused of stabbing former MSU colleague and retired history professor Dr. Marc Cooper and his wife at their Springfield home in 2016, killing the 66-year-old man and prompting a first-degree murder charge.

Prosecutors believe that Gutting drove across town to kill Cooper in a fit of rage because he had long felt slighted by Cooper, and that the career educator may have “sabotaged” Gutting’s chances of being hired for tenure in Ancient History.

Gutted Process: Ex-MSU instructor said he felt “out of his body” during the kill

Gutting pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, which led to multiple court delays and mental evaluations that pushed the trial back several years. He waived his right to a jury trial and left his fate in the hands of Greene County Judge David Jones.

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There is no arguing that Gutting committed the violent act, but the legal defense team of Joseph Passinese and Taylon Sumners hopes the court will consider Gutting’s mental fitness for the crime and possibly reduce Gutting’s sentence. He faces life in prison with no chance of parole.

Passinese presented two mental health professionals, a neighbor of Cooper’s and a chief investigator for the police, on Thursday before court was adjourned three hours earlier.

The trial, which was expected to end this week, is now likely to continue past Memorial Day weekend.

Did a ‘toxic work environment’ in the state of Missouri lead to the murder of Marc Cooper?

Edward Gutting, left, is being charged in the August death of Missouri State professor Marc Cooper.

Edward Gutting, left, is being charged in the August death of Missouri State professor Marc Cooper.

Forensic psychologists and defense witnesses told the court that after post-arrest mental evaluations of Gutting, a 50-year-old Princeton University graduate, they believed he suffered from schizophrenia, leading him to be diagnosed with the mental illness.

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Witnesses also said he had inhaled nitrous oxide gas in the past to feel high, which may also have led to his mental illness.

Details emerge in the trial of an ex-MSU instructor accused of murdering a colleague

Prosecutors believe Gutting, who was also intoxicated when he unexpectedly arrived at Cooper’s home with a 12-inch knife, was ultimately in control of his actions when he committed the brutal stabbing of a man witnesses said was having trouble with on the campus of MSU. According to the prosecution’s evidence, Gutting furiously drove to Cooper’s home, miles away, just hours after learning he was no longer qualified for the Ancient History position – a job previously held by Cooper – due to an unexpected change in the job description .

The defense claims the violence was provoked by paranoid hallucinations brought on by schizophrenia, and presented witnesses to help bolster their case.

Cooper’s neighbor Harvey Lucas said on the witness stand Thursday that when he saw Gutting leave Cooper’s house covered in the immediate aftermath of the stabbing, he looked like a “zombie” walking across their yard.

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“I was confused, because I thought someone would walk faster after what just happened,” said Lucas, who also previously said Gutting seemed higher than a flier or had some sort of psychotic episode.

Former Springfield Police Department Detective Chris McPhail, now Chief of Police at Battlefield, was the lead detective on the case and a defense witness.

McPhail said he researched Gutting’s work history at MSU to see if there was any contentious history between the accused killer and Cooper. In his findings and interview with Gutting, McPhail told the court that Gutting showed no ill feelings toward Cooper. They worked together in the history department from 2011 to 2015, as did Gutting’s wife, Professor Angela Hornsby-Gutting, who is currently listed on the school’s faculty website.

The former SPD investigator also said he discovered Gutting had a “coincidental interest” in Cooper’s former position, but had not officially applied for it.

Testimony from several prosecution witnesses earlier this week painted a very different picture, suggesting that Gutting wanted the permanent position and that Cooper — allegedly calling his would-be killer “stupid” in a previous interaction — influenced a decision to have Gutting not to employ.

This article originally appeared on Springfield News-Leader: Ex-MSU Instructor Looked Like a ‘Zombie’ After Colleague’s Murder

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