A former doctor found liable in a 2009 murder-suicide is asking a state judge to set aside the verdict and order a new trial, alleging the judge improperly allowed testimony that harmed the defense.
A Waterbury Superior Court jury found former Tolland doctor Carl Koplin liable on Dec. 19 during a civil trial for the deaths of James Morrin and his wife, Alice Morrin. James Morrin fatally shot his wife in their Vernon home on June 29, 2009, after learning she was having an affair and more than two months after she filed for divorce, and then he killed himself, according to police and court documents.
Koplin was James Morrin’s doctor. James Morrin’s family sued Koplin in 2011, alleging malpractice and seeking damages for both deaths. The lawsuit alleged Koplin failed to diagnose James Morrin’s mental health problems, including suicidal ideation, or thoughts about killing himself, and failed to refer him to a psychiatrist, claims Koplin denied.
The jury found Koplin and his medical practices liable and was scheduled to begin hearing evidence on potential damages this week.
Koplin is serving an unrelated four-year federal prison sentence after pleading guilty in August 2012 to a child pornography charge. He surrendered his state medical license in November 2012.
Koplin’s lawyer, James Rosenblum, asked trial Judge Kari Dooley on Monday, Dec. 30, to set aside the verdict and order a new trial. It’s unclear when the judge will rule.
Rosenblum argued in a motion that the judge wrongly allowed another doctor to testify that the murder-suicide was a “single event” and that the murder was part of the same aggression that caused the suicide. Rosenblum called the judge’s decision a “massive, prejudicial error” and said the judge “sabotaged” the defense.
Rosenblum said it doesn’t make sense to allow James Morrin’s family to recover damages for his killing of Alice Morrin. He also said there was no evidence that James Morrin told Koplin he was suicidal and no evidence that he ever threatened to kill his wife before he did so.
Rosenblum said it would be inappropriate to talk about the case during the trial. Attorney Josh Koskoff, representing James Morrin’s family, declined to comment.
James Morrin, who was 45 when he killed his wife and himself, was a highway planner for the state Department of Transportation. Alice Morrin, who was 43, worked for WTIC-TV and The Hartford Courant. Their two daughters, ages 9 and 15 at the time, were in the house during the killings but weren’t physically harmed.
Koplin was sentenced last April to four years and three months in prison and will be eligible for parole in July 2017.
Federal prosecutors said in court documents that Koplin was a family practice doctor and Boy Scout leader who amassed one of the largest child pornography collections ever found in Connecticut, an 800-gigabyte collection of sexually explicit images and videos of boys.