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Rita Morelli Murder Suspect Said 'Evil Spell' Led Him to Kill, Cops Say

By DNAinfo Staff on December 1, 2011 4:02pm

Rita Morelli.
Rita Morelli.
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Il Centro

By Murray Weiss, Ben Fractenberg and Patrick Hedlund

DNAinfo Staff 

MANHATTAN — The man arrested for brutally stabbing East Harlem student Rita Morelli to death last week claimed an "evil spell" led him to allegedly murder the Italian native, police said.

Bronx resident Bakary Camara, 41, who was charged with second-degree murder in the 36-year-old’s death, told police that he repeatedly stabbed the Borough of Manhattan Community College student and Upper East Side waitress because of a hex placed on him, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said Thursday.

In a rambling, three-page confession note found on Camara at the time of his arrest, he indicated "there was some sort of spell placed over him, and that's why he did it," Kelly said.

The building at 205 E. 120th St., where 36-year-old Rita Morelli was found dead on Weds., Nov. 23.
The building at 205 E. 120th St., where 36-year-old Rita Morelli was found dead on Weds., Nov. 23.
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DNAinfo/Ben Fractenberg

The Gambian immigrant was discovered inside his Bronx apartment holding a knife that he plunged into his own chest when police arrived, the commissioner added. He was taken to St. Barnabas Hospital in stable condition.

Police were led to the alleged killer after a 911 call made from a pay phone informing police of the murder was traced back to Camara, Kelly said. Detectives calling contacts in Morelli’s cell phone then recognized his voice from the 911 call and made the connection, police sources said.

Prior to that, police had been eyeing several men Morelli knew as possible suspects, including two males seen in a surveillance video taken near where the 911 call was made, sources added.

Kelly said that Camara and Morelli had a previous relationship, and police sources said the pair had been out on dates in the past, though it was not clear how they met.

The suspected murderer, who works as a security guard in the Bronx, spent six years in a Senegal jail for robbery, Kelly noted. He admitted to having brushes with the law in his native country, where he hasn’t lived for some time, sources said.

Morelli was found choked and stabbed in the neck inside the East 120th Street apartment she shared with her boyfriend, police said.

Sources said investigators believe Camara went to Morelli’s apartment to get back together with her, and that he hit her during an ensuing argument that quickly escalated when he reached for a knife. 

Morelli did not have any orders of protection taken out against the alleged killer, and he has no record of arrests in the U.S., Kelly said.

It does appear that Camara forced entry into her apartment, he added.