Anti-Stalking Lessons In Wesleyan Case?

Johanna Justin-Jinich of Timnath, Colo., a student at Wesleyan University was killed May 6, 2009. She was working at the Red and Black Cafe inside Broad Street Books in Middletown, Conn. when a gunman shot her several times at point-blank range. WFSB

The cold-blooded shooting of a 21-year-old Wesleyan University student in a campus bookstore Wednesday has focused new attention on what people being stalked can do to protect themselves.

Police say Johanna Justin-Jinich was gunned down by Stephen P. Morgan, 29.

His bond was raised to $15 million from $10 million Friday at his arraignment on first-degree murder chares.

Morgan denies harming anyone at the school, despite what authorities say are entries in his journal, which they say was found at the crime scene.

One reads, "I think it's OK to kill Jews and go on a killing spree." Another says, "Kill Johanna. She must die."

Morgan met Justin-Jinich two years ago at New York University, where they both attended a six week summer course.

On July 10, 2007, Justin-Jinich reported getting threatening phone calls and 38 harassing e-mails from Morgan, including one message that read, "You're going to have a lot more problems down the road."

On July 17, Justin-Jinich filed a complaint with the university, but on July 24, the case was closed because she didn't want to press charges.

But police say Morgan's obsession with and stalking of Justin-Jinich, via e-mails, text messages and phone calls, never stopped.

On The Early Show Saturday Edition, Michele Archer, who herself was stalked and is now a director of Safe Horizon, an organization dedicated to helping stalking victims, said the key to dealing with a stalker is early intervention.

"She was 21 years old. And ... 18- to 21-year-olds experience the highest rate of stalking," Archer told co-anchor Chris Wragge. "And there aren't a lot of resources geared toward their needs. I think early intervention is crucial. And I think some of those early e-mails that I've seen, at least in the (news)papers, have been very threatening. And I think the earlier we can intervene in these cases, we have maybe more outcomes that are positive."

Was it a big mistake for Justin-Jinich to decide not to press charges against Morgan?

"One of the things we always look at," Archer replied, "is, 'What did the victim do?' I think we need to focus the attention on, 'What did he do?' I think she made it known to law enforcement. If you look at some of these e-mails, I think they realized at that point they probably had a problem. He pursued her for two more years."

Archer says one of the challenges is that, often, stalking cases aren't taken seriously enough. Another is that a lot of young victims may not be comfortable with going to the police and going forward with pressing charges."

What can people do if they're being stalked?

"You can get an order of protection," Archer pointed out. "That's one piece of it, though. You also need to work with somebody who can help you do safety planning -- simple tips you can do every day. And it's an ongoing process. It's not a one-shot deal. This case dragged on for two years. That's a long time to work with somebody."

Archer said it's always better to err on the side of safety: "If anything's making you uncomfortable ... seek help. Go to their local service provider. If there's a victim advocate in their community, maybe in their district attorney's office, go to the police, talk to somebody, and start really looking at what's going on, documenting the behavior. ... It will help you if you have to go to the criminal justice system (to have) a log of every incident. That's also going to help with some of the safety planning, because it will give you an idea of what's going on with this offender."

Archer also urges schools to do a better job informing students about the signs of stalking and what their options are to stay safe. "There's not enough awareness on this issue," she told CBS News. "Schools are good about talking to students about rape and sexual assault, but they need to tell them about the dangers with stalking. They need to have staff members who are trained to identify stalking behavior and deal with it. This kind of behavior is minimized all the time, and I think this is a real wake up call. We really need to create safety for students."
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