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Published: Friday, 5/8/2009

Police nab suspect in Wesleyan slaying

ASSOCIATED PRESS

MERIDEN, Conn. - Police in Connecticut said last night they had taken into custody the suspect in the slaying of a Wesleyan University student at a bookstore.

A Meriden police spokesman said 29-year-old Stephen P. Morgan was arrested and turned over to authorities in Middletown who are investigating Wednesday's fatal shooting of 21-year-old Johanna Justin-Jinich.

Earlier yesterday in Middletown, Wesleyan University students were told to stay in their dorms and the city's only synagogue closed as police warned that Mr. Morgan may be bent on killing other students and Jews.

Police and administrators locked down the 3,000-student campus and stepped up patrols as authorities hunted for the killer.

This undated photo released by the Justin-Jinich family shows Johanna Justin-Jinich. Justin-Jinich, a junior at Wesleyan University, was shot and killed Wednesday, May 6, 2009 in Middletown, Ct., by suspect Stephen P. Morgan. (AP Photo/Courtesy of the Justin-Junich Family) This undated photo released by the Justin-Jinich family shows Johanna Justin-Jinich. Justin-Jinich, a junior at Wesleyan University, was shot and killed Wednesday, May 6, 2009 in Middletown, Ct., by suspect Stephen P. Morgan. (AP Photo/Courtesy of the Justin-Junich Family)
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Ms. Justin-Jinich was shot several times Wednesday inside a bookstore cafe just off campus by a gunman wearing a wig. In 2007, she complained to police in New York that Mr. Morgan had stalked and threatened her.

University officials said police told them Mr. Morgan expressed threats in his personal journals toward Wesleyan and its Jewish students. Officials said he is a former Navy man with no known ties to Wesleyan.

The Hartford Courant, citing anonymous law enforcement sources, said police confiscated Mr. Morgan's car and found a journal in which he spelled out a plan to rape and kill Ms. Justin-Jinich before going on a campus shooting spree.

It also reported that police stopped Mr. Morgan shortly after the shooting, spoke to him and let him go, only to later learn from Ms. Justin-Jinich's family that they suspected him.

Ms. Justin-Jinich of Timnath, Colo., came from a Jewish family. Her grandmother was a Holocaust survivor.

Mr. Morgan's family had issued a statement pleading with him to turn himself in "to avoid any further bloodshed." His brother Greg told the Associated Press that Mr. Morgan had never shown anti-Semitic tendencies.

Wesleyan officials told students to stay indoors and staff members to stay home. Normally bustling sidewalks were empty, and police patrolled the campus of the elite liberal arts school.

In dorms, students in flip-flops, gym shorts, and pajama pants shuffled downstairs to pick up box lunches. "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," freshman Christina Yow of China said.

Middletown's only synagogue, Congregation Adath Israel, across the street from the bookstore, was closed.



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