New York

Binghamton University Student Pleads Not Guilty to Murder in Freshman's Stabbing Death

University officials say investigators believe the suspect targeted the 19-year-old victim, but they didn't elaborate on a possible motive

What to Know

  • A 19-year-old freshman was stabbed to death on New York's Binghamton University campus; a 20-year-old fellow student has been arrested
  • Engineering student Joao Souza was attacked at about 10:30 p.m. Sunday in a residence suite on the campus near the Pennsylvania state line
  • Souza's family was located in Brazil and requested privacy, according to the university

A Binghamton University student has pleaded not guilty to murder in the stabbing death of a 19-year-old freshman in a college dorm.

A public defender representing 20-year-old Michael Roque of Massapequa, New York, entered the plea on his behalf late Monday. Roque faces a second-degree murder charge in the killing of Joao Souza on Sunday night in a residence suite on the New York state campus near the Pennsylvania state line.

Roque was found Monday at his dormitory.

The university says Souza had attended high school in Westchester County and was a native of Brazil.

University officials say investigators believe the suspect targeted Souza. Police and the district attorney would not provide a possible motive.

University president Harvey Stenger said in a statement that police are working with the community to keep the campus safe. 

The school, one of the four university centers in New York's sprawling state university system, canceled classes Monday due to the "tragic event." Counseling was being offered to students and staff.

This was the second slaying of a student in the last two months. On March 9, the body of Haley Anderson, of Westbury on Long Island, was found in the off-campus apartment of a fellow student she had briefly dated. She had been strangled.

The Broome County district attorney's office is seeking to have that suspect in that case returned from Nicaragua to stand trial.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
Contact Us