Police and Stalkers — What Can and Cannot Be Done

May 8, 2009 11:41am

Last night the suspect in the murder of a Wesleyan University junior turned himself in.  The school had been on edge since the killing earlier this week of Johanna Justin-Jinich at a local bookstore.  Police were searching for a 29 year old named Stephen Morgan.  They discovered his journal in which he made threatening entries.  The Associated Press has just reported that police say the suspect wrote it was "OK to kill Jews" and "Kill Johanna.  She must Die." Johanna had encountered the suspect two years ago while attending a summer program at New York University.  She felt harassed by him and reported it to the school.  As we learn more details about the tragic story of this student’s death it appears to shed light on the issue of stalking and what police can and cannot do.  We spoke yesterday with Brad Garrett, a former FBI agent who is now a consultant with ABC News. "Unless the threat is very explicit, it’s very difficult for the police to do much with it," Garrett explained.  "Unfortunately it ends up being more of a reactive thing by law enforcement than proactive and that’s largely driven by volume, it’s largely driven by how explicit is the threat because unless it’s very explicit, law enforcement typically is not going to put the energy into doing the follow up."

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