Stephen Morgan, wanted by Middletown police in the shooting Wednesday of 21-year-old Wesleyan junior Johanna Justin-Jinich, walked into the Cumberland Farms store on Old Colony Road in Meriden about 9 p.m. and bought a Smoothie. He told the clerk, Sonia Rodriguez, that he needed to call police and she gave him a phone.
Morgan had trouble dialing, so she dialed Meriden police for him and handed him the phone. After talking briefly on the phone, he walked outside and was grabbed within minutes by police officers.
Rodriguez said his clothes were dirty and wet.
He was later turned over to Middletown police, who charged him with murder. He was held, with bail set at $10 million, and he is to be arraigned today in Superior Court in Middletown.
Middletown police had been leading a massive investigation into the Wednesday afternoon killing of Justin-Jinich, who was working in a cafe at a Middletown bookstore.
Morgan told police he'd been out in the rain since the shooting.
Middletown officers spoke to Morgan shortly after the slaying of Justin-Jinich on Wednesday. Officers let him go after getting his name and contact information, law enforcement sources said.
There was relief on the Wesleyan campus as word spread of Morgan's capture.
"The Wesleyan community is grateful for the work of law enforcement agencies involved in this process," Wesleyan President Michael S. Roth said in a statement released by the university. "We are all breathing a little easier with this news. Our hearts go out to the family and friends of Johanna and hope that this latest development brings them some measure of comfort."
Wesleyan will resume normal operations today, Roth said, and a vigil for Justin-Jinich will take place at 1 p.m.
Earlier Thursday Morgan's family called a press conference in Massachusetts to urge him to turn himself in.
His family is "shocked and sickened by the tragedy," Stephen Morgan's youngest sister, Diana Morgan, told reporters outside the family's home in Marblehead, Mass.
Morgan wore a disguise, including a wig, inside Broad Street Books when he approached Justin-Jinich and shot her point-blank seven times, law enforcement sources said. He then dropped the gun and shed his wig inside the bookstore, but did not leave the area. Instead, when Middletown police arrived, he was one of many people milling around whom police questioned.
It wasn't until hours later, when police heard Morgan's name as a possible suspect from Justin-Jinich's family, that they realized they had stopped him outside the bookstore.
Sources said it wasn't clear whether Morgan, who was not a Wesleyan student, deliberately hung around to observe the chaos he had created or if he was unable to leave because his vehicle was blocked in by responding police officers.
New information about the relationship between Justin-Jinich and Morgan also surfaced Thursday, including the fact that the two participated in a six-week summer program at New York University in 2007. Both lived in student housing but did not stay in the same residence hall, according to NYU spokesman John Beckman.
Toward the end of the program, Justin-Jinich filed a harassment complaint with the NYU Public Safety Department, saying she had been receiving harassing e-mails and phone calls from Morgan, Beckman said.
"The Public Safety Department brought in the NYPD, and initial conversations were conducted with each person by the police. Ultimately, after attempts to follow up with Ms. Justin-Jinich about pursuing the matter, she declined to pursue the case," he said.
A New York City police report shows that Morgan allegedly threatened Justin-Jinich in 2007, when they were attending NYU. Justin-Jinich filed a harassment complaint on July 10, 2007, claiming that he was calling her repeatedly and sent her insulting e-mails for at least a week."You're going to have a lot more problems down the road if you can't take any (expletive) criticism, Johanna," one of the e-mails said, according to the police report.
Morgan had apparently already left New York for Boston at the time the complaint was filed, and he was not arrested.
Police believe Morgan came to Middletown from Boulder, Colo., at least a day before the shooting and stayed in a city hotel overnight. After the shooting in Middletown, police confiscated Morgan's car, which has Colorado license plates.
Inside the car, police found a journal with an entry in which Morgan outlined his plans to rape and kill Justin-Jinich before going on a shooting spree on the Wesleyan campus.
Sources said that Morgan and Justin-Jinich knew each other from Colorado, although they are still trying to determine the depth of the relationship or why Morgan apparently decided to drive across the country to kill her.
Middletown Mayor Sebastian Giuliano said Morgan's journal included "writings that could be taken as a threat to the Jewish community." Justin-Jinich's former stepmother, Karin Radcliffe, said Justin-Jinich came from a Jewish family.
"In this guy's obvious rage at her, he was spilling over to the larger community," Giuliano said.
In light of that, university officials Thursday asked students to remain inside and to be vigilant. Police also asked Congregation Adath Israel, a synagogue down the street from where the shooting occurred, to close.
•Staff writers Alaine Griffin, Josh Kovner, Monica Polanco and senior researcher Tina Bachetti contributed to this story. An Associated Press report is also included.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun