Stephen P. Morgan during his arraignment in Middletown Superior Court Friday. (Fred Beckham / Associated Press)

Businesslike. Robotic.

That's how Laura Taylor Free remembers Stephen Paul Morgan.

The images could describe Morgan's alleged slaying of Wesleyan University junior Johanna Justin-Jinich. How police say he followed through on a 2007 e-mail to her that promised her "a lot more problems down the road"; how he'd written "Kill Johanna. She must Die'' in his journal before striding into the book store in Middletown where she worked and shooting her seven times; how he acted so stoic afterward that a cop arriving at the scene took his name and number and let him go.

But Taylor Free's observations come from a different time, when Morgan, a prep school graduate and former Navy petty officer from a large, church-going family in tony Marblehead, Mass., was drifting between New England, California, and Colorado, complaining about loud parties, existing on the fringe of the younger college crowd in Boulder and caring for his cat.

A time when Justin-Jinich, outgoing, attractive and a world away, was safe.

It was 2006 and Taylor Free and her husband wanted to move out of their apartment in Boulder, to another place in the city. Three months remained on the lease, so they put an ad on Craigslist for a tenant.

A 26-year-old man named Stephen Morgan called almost immediately. He said he was moving from Colorado Springs, that he'd sold a house and had broken up with a fiance.

When Morgan met Taylor Free in her kitchen in May of 2006, "I gave him a beer and said, 'Let's talk about my plan for the apartment.' I tried to warm him up," Taylor Free said, "but I couldn't. He was all business.''

He mumbled. Wouldn't make eye contact. But he was a model tenant, paying up front for the full three months.

"He had a cat he took care of, but I found him a little bit odd. He wasn't skilled socially,'' Taylor Free said.

He left in August 2006, and moved to an apartment building 30th Street in the center of Boulder, two blocks from the University of Colorado campus.

In the spring of 2007, he signed up for a couple of classes at CU, enrolling as a non-degree student, said university spokesman Bronson Hilliard. He barely left an imprint.

One neighbor at the complex reported that he'd lived next to Morgan for months and never uttered a single word to him.


It's unclear how Morgan went from a quiet loner to an accused killer, filling a journal with thoughts of killing sprees against Jewish people and Wesleyan students.

After that semester at CU, in the summer of 2007, Morgan traveled to New York City and enrolled in a six-week summer course on human sexuality at NYU.

Justin-Jinich, a popular, vivacious woman between her freshmen and sophomore years at Wesleyan, was interested in the study of female sexuality and took the same course.

This past Wednesday, while law officers were still searching for Morgan, Massachusetts police went to Morgan's family's home in Marblehead. His father identified the agitated, gun-toting man depicted in a book-store surveillance photo as his son.

James Morgan, a retired financier, told police his son was a quiet loner with few friends.