SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — After seven years, the case against a former Missouri State University instructor accused of murder is finally over.

Edward Gutting, who served as a history and classical languages instructor from 2011-2016, stabbed former MSU history department head Marc Cooper over 40 times in the evening hours on Aug. 17, 2016.

A Greene County judge ruled Gutting is not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect.

“This is not an easy decision for me,” Judge David Jones said, “I know the family, this is a harsh decision. I’m sorry for the pain I’ve caused by this decision.”

OzarksFirst was inside the courtroom every day of the bench trial and spoke to the victim’s family members after the verdict.

“It’s hard to put into words… disappointment,” said Nancy Cooper, the wife of Marc Cooper. “I mean, I don’t agree with it. I think he knew what he was doing that night. And it’s very disheartening. But at the same time, I’m just glad it’s over. It’s been seven really long years.”

Several mental health experts testified, including Dr. James Reynolds, a forensic psychologist who was court-ordered to do a mental evaluation on Gutting.

Reynolds diagnosed Gutting with schizophrenia. He said Gutting was suffering from delusions at the time of the attack.

Another forensic psychologist, Christina Pietz, also diagnosed Gutting with schizophrenia. She said it was her “opinion he was insane during the time of the offense.”

Gutting told Dr. Pietz he believed it was a fight to the death as soon as he entered the Cooper residence, which is part of those delusions.

“He recognized he was stabbing Dr. Cooper but didn’t recognize he was causing harm,” Pietz said on the stand.

Six doctors all agreed Gutting was mentally ill, however a rebuttal witness for the prosecution, Dr. Matthew Fowler, said Gutting’s schizophrenia didn’t have anything to do with the homicide.

Fowler testified he didn’t think Gutting was experiencing delusions at the time of the murder, something prosecutors were trying to prove.

The two main points for the prosecution were Gutting’s blood alcohol content, and what he brought to the Cooper home the night of the stabbing.

A toxicologist with the Missouri State Highway Patrol testified Gutting’s blood alcohol levels were .105% when the blood was drawn at 1 a.m., approximately five hours after the attack.

Security footage from the jail was also shown in court, where Gutting can be heard saying, “I’m so f****** drunk.”

The lead detective on the case at the time, Robert McPhail, testified he believed Gutting was drunk at the time of the stabbing and could smell alcohol.

It was during McPhail’s investigation that a search of the Gutting house took place. That’s when detectives found a block of knives in the kitchen with two missing.

Photos submitted as evidence show there were two knives found at the scene inside the Cooper residence. One was smaller, close to four inches and the other was a large chef knife that was discarded by Cooper’s body.

Greene County Medical Examiner Peter Duff testified that Cooper had multiple sharp force injuries to his forearms, hands, neck, chest and torso.

Duff said Cooper was stabbed through the chest, with “complete penetration” to the back of his ribcage. Cooper also had stab wounds going through his hands and to the back of his neck.

Duff testified there were several small lacerations on Cooper’s forearms as well.

“These are classic defensive wounds,” Duff said when questioned about the injuries to Cooper’s arms.

Part of the prosecution’s argument was that Gutting showed deliberation before the attack by bringing the knives with him to Cooper’s home.

Nancy Cooper was also injured that night, as she was fighting back and throwing things at Gutting to get him to stop.

“For a long time, I was disappointed,” Nancy said after the verdict. “Every morning when I wake up. And I haven’t had that feeling for a while now.”

Prosecutors said a possible motive for the murder was Gutting’s exclusion from a job he wanted, which Gutting blamed on Cooper.

The head of the history department at MSU at the time of the stabbing testified she didn’t think Gutting would be a good fit for the tenure track job opening.

Kathleen Kennedy said she didn’t believe Gutting was qualified, but when he asked about applying she said it was her understanding that she “couldn’t discourage a candidate.”

The teaching position was for Cooper’s old job, a course on old-world civilizations. It was eventually amended to exclude Rome, Gutting’s specialty.

The email detailing this amendment was printed out at the Gutting home just hours before the attack.

Neighbors also took the stand and said Nancy Cooper ran out of the house with blood on her, asking for help.

One neighbor who testified said he watched Gutting walk from the back of the house onto the street looking “like a zombie.”

Multiple mental health experts agreed Gutting was suffering from hallucinations at the time of the attack, but the prosecution said his actions afterward proved he knew what he did was wrong.

Aaron Cooper, the son of the victim, said his dad would want them to move forward.

“He was somebody who wanted to make the most of each day and he’d want us to go on and live our lives,” Aaron said.

Now, Gutting is committed to the Department of Mental Health, where he’s being housed in a secured facility for an undetermined amount of time.

“I’m glad he’s going to be locked up for a long time,” Nancy Cooper said. “It doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll be there forever.”

With Judge Jones retiring in June 2023, it will be up to his successor to decide if Gutting will ever be released.