By Murray Weiss, Ben Fractenberg and Patrick Hedlund
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 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.
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.
It does appear that Camara forced entry into her apartment, he added.