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Killer John E. Morgan found unresponsive in county jail cell, revived

Sheriff waits on toxicology results

YOUNGSTOWN — John E. Morgan was found unresponsive in a cell in the Mahoning County jail Wednesday evening, a little more than three hours after being taken there from the Mahoning County Courthouse, where he was found guilty of murder.

Deputies administered multiple doses of the opiate reversal drug Naloxone to Morgan, and he was revived, Sheriff Jerry Greene said.

Morgan, 47, entered the jail at 3:06 p.m. and was taken to a cell. He was found unresponsive at 6:28 p.m., Greene said. It is assumed that Morgan overdosed on drugs, but Greene said he cannot be sure until after toxicology results are obtained.

When asked whether Morgan was left alone in between the reading of the guilty verdicts in Judge Maureen Sweeney’s courtroom in the courthouse and when Morgan arrived at the jail, Greene said no. Greene said he also does not think Morgan had taken a drug before hearing the verdicts in his case.

Green noted that it takes only a small amount of a drug like fentanyl to produce an overdose, and Morgan was searched before going into the jail but he was in street clothes, so the drug could have been in his clothing, Greene said. He added that it is his understanding that Morgan was in an orange jail jumpsuit at the time he was found unresponsive.

As little as 2 milligrams of fentanyl, about the size of five grains of salt, is enough to cause trouble breathing, dizziness, and possible overdose, according to the National Institutes of Health.

A jury found Morgan guilty of murder, felonious assault and voluntary manslaughter late Wednesday afternoon after an eight-day trial. He killed Daniel Peek Sr., 46, outside of Peek’s home on East Florida Avenue on the South Side.

Morgan is expected to be sentenced to about 18 years to life in prison. His sentencing hearing is set for 10:30 a.m. April 4.

During Morgan’s trial, he maintained that he had gone to Peek’s house to pick up his daughter and grandson and take them to a family dinner at his son’s house in Canfield. However, prosecutors questioned him hard during his testimony regarding the way Morgan described the details of the fight to police detectives compared to the way the video showed it unfold.

Have an interesting story? Email Ed Runyan at erunyan@vindy.com.

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