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Man Accused of Killing Italian Student Hit With New Charges

Rita Morelli.
Rita Morelli.
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Il Centro

MANHATTAN SUPREME COURT—The Bronx man charged with slitting the throat of an Italian student in her East Harlem apartment last year was indicted Thursday on a more severe murder charge as well as new rape and burglary charges.

Bakary Camara, 41, was charged with a first degree murder charge for killing Rita Morelli, 36, a well-liked waitress at the Upper East Side's Caffe Buon Gusto and student at Borough of Manhattan Community College in November 2011.

Camara, originally indicted on only one count of second degree murder, pleaded not guilty to the new charges—which also included first and second degree rape, as well as first degree burglary—during a hearing on Thursday.

Reasons for the additional charges were not given during the court appearance, and the Manhattan District Attorney's office declined to comment as to why the additional rape and burglary charges were tacked on.

Camara, a Gambian immigrant, was arrested in December for the brutal attack after a 911 call made from a pay phone two days after the murder informing police that a dead body was in Morelli's apartment was traced back to Camara.

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.

When cops tracked down Camara in his Bronx apartment in December, he allegedly stabbed himself in the stomach, said "I killed Rita" and announced that he had a note in his pocket.

Authorities said Camara blamed an evil spell that had come over him for the murder in the rambling confession note.

Morelli was found choked and stabbed in the neck inside the 205 East 120th St. apartment she shared with her boyfriend on Nov. 23, 2011, police said.

Camara is due back in court in October for the start of his trial.