MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – Police investigating the shooting death of a Wesleyan University student found a copy of an infamous anti-Semitic book in her suspected killer's hotel room, according to court records.
The records detail new writings attributed to Stephen Morgan two hours before the death of Johanna Justin-Jinich that said: "I have to kill Jenn. I think it's OK to kill Jenn and kill the Jews at this school. ... The want and need to kill Jenn and the Jews is there."
Morgan, 29, is accused of murdering Justin-Jinich, of Timnath, Colo., in a college bookstore cafe near Wesleyan. The May 6 shootings and subsequent police warnings that the killer might be targeting Jews sparked fear throughout the region until Morgan surrendered to police two days later at a convenience store in nearby Meriden.
Morgan appeared in court Tuesday at a brief hearing attended by several of his relatives, including his parents. Morgan smiled at them and tried to wave, despite shackles that kept his hands behind his back. His family declined to comment to reporters.
Authorities have said Morgan and Justin-Jinich knew each other since at least 2007, when they attended a six-week summer program at New York University. Police records show Justin-Jinich filed a harassment complaint against Morgan, accusing him of calling her repeatedly and sending abusive e-mails, but she did not press charges.
Defense attorney Dick Brown said he may ask for a probable cause hearing that would require prosecutors to lay out their case, and was granted a postponement until June 9 so he could discuss the merits of the hearing with Morgan and his family.
Evidence seized by police from Morgan's hotel room, his car and his laptop computer is filed at the Middletown courthouse under a temporary seal that expires this week. But police descriptions of the items under seal are available to the public.
The documents note that police recovered a book, "Protocols of the Elders of Zion," from Morgan's room at the Best Way Inn in Middlefield.
The book is a widely read text now generally debunked as an anti-Semitic hoax purporting a plot by Jews seeking world domination. It's considered a pretext for anti-Semitism in the early 20th century and remains influential in those circles today.
Police also confiscated an iPhone, a digital video camera, receipts, clothing, a kiteboard, bullet magazines, a gun case, a portable computer hard drive and receipts from a red Nissan Sentra that was registered to Morgan and found parked near the bookstore after the shooting, court documents show.
It wasn't clear whether the newly released anti-Semitic comments were written in papers or on the computer, but they were similar to comments in his journal, previously made public, in which he wrote: "I think it okay to kill Jews and go on a killing spree at this school."
Connecticut law gives anyone accused of a crime punishable by death or life imprisonment to ask for a probable cause hearing within 60 days. The hearing would allow both sides to introduce evidence and call witnesses.
He was arrested the day after the shooting when he surrendered at a convenience store in Meriden.
Police say Morgan harassed Justin-Jinich in 2007, and he kept a journal with anti-Semitic writing. Justin-Jinich was Jewish.
According to the arrest warrant, after firing several shots, Morgan ducked into the bookstore's basement and threatened three employees before fleeing.
His lawyer said he may ask for a probable cause hearing that would require prosecutors to lay out their case.
Brown says he'll discuss the merits of the hearing with Morgan.
Connecticut law gives anyone accused of a crime punishable by death or life imprisonment to ask for a probable cause hearing within 60 days.
The hearing would allow both sides to introduce evidence and call witnesses.