Suspect: "Kill Johanna. She Must Die"

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    Stephen P. Morgan appears for an arraignment in Middletown Superior Court.

    Police responding to the fatal shooting of a Wesleyan University student found a journal with an entry saying "I think it's ok to kill Jews and go on a killing spree." It also says "Kill Johanna. She must Die," according to an arrest warrant.

    In a brief arraignment Friday morning, a Connecticut Superior Court judge raised the bond set for Stephen Morgan from $10 million to $15 million. Morgan appeared shaggy-haired in a blue jump suit.  The judge ordered that if Morgan makes bond, he will have to surrender his passport.

    Judge Increases Bond for Morgan to 15 Million

    [HAR] Judge Increases Bond for Morgan to 15 Million
    Should be make bond, he must turn in his passport. (Published Friday, May 8, 2009)

    Hartford attorney Dick Brown says 29-year-old Morgan will plead not guilty to a murder count in Wednesday's shooting death of Johanna Justin-Jinich, 21.

    As Stephen Morgan arrived at Middletown Superior Court at 9 a.m. Friday, he covered himself, hiding from television cameras.

    The two-day manhunt for Morgan ended Thursday night when he surrendered to Connecticut cops after he was spooked by seeing his own photo on the front page of a newspaper at a convenience store, the clerk, Sonia Rodriguez, said.

    Morgan called police from a Cumberland Farms in Meriden Thursday, where he had gone around 9:15 p.m. to buy a bottle of Naked Superfood water, Rodriguez said.

    He walked around for about five minutes then went to pay for the drink when he saw his photo splashed on the cover of the Hartford Courant and asked Rodriguez if there was a payphone, Rodriguez said.

    There was not, but she said he could use the store phone if it was a local call.

    Rodriguez did not recognize Morgan. When she saw him fumbling with the phone, she said, "Can I help you?” and he said, "Yes, I want to call the cops.”

    So, Rodriguez dialed Meriden Police. After finishing the call, Morgan walked outside to wait for police. That's when what had just happened hit Rodriguez.

    “I got nervous. I started crying and I got very, very scared,” she said.  

    When officers arrived, Morgan told them, "I am the Wesleyan shooter," a police source told NBC Connecticut.

    When police asked Morgan where he had been since the murder, he told them he had been walking around in the rain.

    Morgan, 29, is in the custody of Middletown police, who are expected to charge him in the shooting death of Justin-Jinich -- a Wesleyan student who was working at a university bookstore when she was killed.  He's being held on $10 million bond and will be arraigned Friday morning in Middletown Superior Court on one count of murder.


    Click here to read the arrest warrant (.pdf)


    Morgan escaped after the shooting Wednesday afternoon using a pulley system akin to a dumbwaiter to get from the main floor of the bookstore to the basement, where he ditched his disguise and handgun, sources tell NBC Connecticut.

    A short time later, police interviewed him outside the bookstore as he milled around the scene, sources said. They took down his name and contact information before letting him go.

    Thursday afternoon, Middletown police issued an arrest warrant for Morgan, charging him with first-degree murder.

    Morgan, who is from Marblehead, Mass., left his car, which was recovered near the Middletown bookstore.
     
    Justin-Jinich was working at Red and Black Café inside the Wesleyan University bookstore on William and Broad streets in Middletown Wednesday afternoon when a shooter wearing a wig walked in and shot her several times, sources said.
     
    A $10,000 reward was being offered for information leading to Morgan's capture. The U.S. Marshals office put up $5,000, which was matched by Wesleyan University. The State Police Fugitive Task Force also joined the investigation.

    Before Morgan turned himself in, his brother, Greg Morgan, told the Associated Press Thursday that his family was "absolutely distraught".

    Morgan is scheduled to be back in court on May 19.


    Their Back-Story

    Justin-Jinich and Morgan appear to have known each other from a six-week summer course they took at New York University in 2007.

    The young woman filed a complaint against Morgan after the class, telling NYU’s Public Safety Department she had been receiving harassing emails and phone calls from him.  The school said that its officers attempted to investigate her claims, but that she declined to pursue the case.

    Justin-Jinich also reached out to the New York Police Department, filing an aggravated harassment complaint on July 10, 2007, cops said. It claimed that he was calling her repeatedly and sent her insulting emails for at least a week, the Associated Press reports.

    In one e-mail, Morgan allegedly said, "You're going to have a lot more problems down the road if you can't take any (expletive) criticism, Johanna," according to the police report."

    Morgan had apparently already left the city at the time the complaint was filed and was not arrested.


    The Day After

    Cops and security officers surrounded the Wesleyan campus Thursday morning and advised students to remain in their dorms. 

    Most buildings on campus, including cafeterias and the library, were locked. Normally bustling sidewalks were empty and police cruisers patrolled the campus. In dorms, students dressed in flip-flops, gym shorts and pajama pants shuffled downstairs to pick up box lunches of roasted vegetable, tuna fish or cheese sandwiches.

    "I'm staying inside," said freshman Christina Yow, of China. "We're supposed to do some work, but really I just keep checking my e-mail and checking on friends and letting people from home know that I'm OK. Anything to distract."

    Police Lt. Margaret Liseo said that evidence uncovered at the scene "heightened our level of concern," but wouldn't say what in particular police had found.

    The Jewish Community

    Police Thursday warned the Jewish community to be vigilant and that Morgan might be focused on them along with the Wesleyan community. Justin-Jinich came from a Jewish family, her former stepmother told the Associated Press.

    Greg Morgan said his brother has not shown anti-Semitism in the past.

    "My brother was a very sweet person and had a big heart and I hope he's OK," he said.

    The Anti-Defamation League said there had been no specific threat against any Jewish institution or person as of Thursday afternoon.

    "Nevertheless, we recommend that Jewish institutions take this opportunity to review their security procedures and exercise appropriate caution. Moreover, we are confident that local and federal law enforcement are handling this matter professionally and is giving it the urgent attention it deserves," the organization said.  The ADL has posted a security manual on its Web site.  
     
    The Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford also recommended heightened security after the warning was issued.

    "We have instructed our beneficiary agencies, organizations and synagogues in Greater Hartford and surrounding towns including Middletown's Congregation Adath Israel, to implement heightened security measures at their institutions, be aware of unusual or suspicious behavior or persons and trust their instincts.