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Cannibalism suspect described in police report as 'Virginia Tech waiting to happen'

Colleges and UniversitiesAlexander KinyuaCollege SportsCollege BaseballVirginia TechHazing

Five months before a Morgan State University student was charged with dismembering a family friend and eating his heart and parts of his brain, a school instructor flagged the 21-year-old's erratic behavior, describing him as "a Virginia Tech waiting to happen."

That ominous depiction is contained in a campus police report written after Alexander Kinyua allegedly punched holes in an office wall in early December. It was the first of several outbursts and violent episodes leading up to the gruesome killing last week in Joppatowne.

It is unclear what, if anything, university officials did after the December incident in a computer lab at the Northeast Baltimore university's ROTC building, where Kinyua was a cadet. Staff Sgt. Robert Edwards, a military instructor, told campus police that Kinyua was an "unusually angry person."

Edwards' rationale for referring to the 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech University — where a distraught student killed 32 classmates — could not be determined; he could not be reached Monday for comment. But that tragedy marked a turning point on campuses nationwide as school officials sought to spot warning signs of troubled students before they acted out.

The police report, obtained by The Baltimore Sun, says that after the outburst, Kinyua was barred from campus without a police escort, pending an internal review with Morgan State's chief judicial officer, Seymour E. Chambers. He and other school officials declined to comment on that meeting, citing privacy laws.

A university source with knowledge of the disciplinary proceeding said Kinyua did receive counseling by police and others, and was deemed not to be a threat to the campus. He was allowed to return to campus and to classes.

Kinyua spoke at an anti-hazing forum in January — attended by Chambers, the police chief and the university president — unnerving fellow students by talking about human sacrifice.

University officials have said that the comments were more bizarre than scary, and thus did not prompt further review. A video of the event shows Kinyua rambling to laughter from classmates, talking about establishing a hazing policy for off-campus incidents and referring to "blood sacrifices. … I just want to inform people, because most people are unaware of it."

But this banter — combined with the revelations in the police report and the reference to Virginia Tech, as well as later assault allegations — raise questions about whether there were enough clues to warrant intervention by school officials or parents. Kinyua's father is a physics lecturer at the university; neither parent has responded to requests for comment.

Morgan officials said the outcome of any disciplinary hearing is confidential. The officials, who have refused to make the December police report public, repeatedly referred questions to university spokesman Clinton R. Coleman. He would only say that "the university is reviewing the details of this matter."

Dallas R. Evans, the chairman of Morgan's Board of Regents, also did not return messages seeking comment. Other board members referred reporters' questions to him.

Morgan's president, David Wilson, and the police chief, Adrian Wiggins, also declined to comment.

"I have nothing to say about this matter," said Wilson, who has not commented publicly on the killing and its connection to campus.

On May 20, police charged Kinyua with a random attack, alleging that he fractured a young man's skull with a baseball bat wrapped in chains. Two days after he was released on $220,000 bail, his 37-year-old housemate from Ghana, Kujoe Bonsafo Agyei-Kodie, went missing.

The man listed as the victim of the baseball bat beating has hired an attorney, Steve Silverman, who said on Monday he's "in the process of investigating whether or not the university and its staff were negligent in failing to identify this ticking time bomb and extract him from the university community."

The police report on the Dec. 10 incident notes that two campus officers concluded that Kinyua "did not display any behavior that would warrant a psychological evaluation at this time." The report also says an officer did call the campus counseling center's emergency number, but got no response, and turned Kinyua over to his father.

The gory details of the killing have stunned the region and brought international attention to Harford County. Agyei-Kodie, who had been in the school's graduate program and was awaiting deportation back to Ghana, had been taken into the household by the Kinyua family.

According to police, Alexander Kinyua's brother found the victim's head and hands in tins in the basement of their Joppatowne home Wednesday; the rest of the remains were found in a trash bin at a nearby church.

Kinyua, charged with first-degree murder, is being held without bail in the Harford County Detention Center. A spokeswoman for the sheriff's office said he is in isolation and on constant watch, and his attorney is the only visitor allowed.

A woman who answered the phone at the home of Alexander Kinyua's parents said she had been told to refer callers to defense attorney Donald Daneman. A secretary in his office said the attorney does not comment on pending cases.

Students who knew Kinyua said he was confrontational and strange at times. One student said he carried knives and once locked himself in the student's room, refusing to open the door. Others agreed he had "anger issues" and said that on at least one occasion he had run around his apartment building with paint on his face.

His Facebook page includes commentary about "mass human sacrifices," and he uploaded an image of himself with war paint on as part of his profile for a "Warrior Syndicate Radio" Internet radio channel.

Others, though, have described Kinyua as a high-performing electrical engineering student and longtime member of the school's ROTC program. Online photo albums show a smiling Kinyua proudly sporting his jacket for the National Society of Pershing Rifles, a fraternity for ROTC members.

Kinyua's former roommate at Morgan State, who asked not to be identified, said he "was always different but he was still a cool person to be around. ... [But] after [Kinyua] left ROTC, he changed."

The police report on the ROTC incident says that on Dec. 10, between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m., Kinyua allegedly punched holes in the walls of a computer lab in the Turner Armory, stapled a poster to cover the damage, and broke a picture frame.

In the report dated Dec 12, the staff sergeant, Edwards, said he had confronted Kinyua and then called police. Edwards described Kinyua as angry, and said the student had self-inflicted burn marks on his arms that he described as "tribal," according to the report.

"Mr. Edwards further stated that Mr. Kinyua is 'Virginia Tech waiting to happen.' With this information, I informed my supervisor … of the situation," the report states. It also says Edwards terminated Kinyua from ROTC, ordering two cadets to escort him to his locker and then out the door.

Kinyua was taken to a campus police station. In the report, two officers wrote that they "spoke to Mr. Kinyua in reference to any emotional or psychological issues." The report says: "Mr. Kinyua stated that he punched the walls due to stress caused by finances and 'personal problems that are beyond his control.'"

The officers, identified in the report as A. Smith and R. Winborn, concluded that the suspect did not require an emergency evaluation. He was given a citation charging him with destruction of university property and ordered to see the chief judicial officer.

On Jan. 31, Kinyua appeared at the anti-hazing forum. In the school's video recording of the event, a bearded and bespectacled Kinyua, dressed in a blue jacket and elaborate silver necklace, introduced himself by his full name.

His remarks are difficult to discern, but he asks about "collaborating more as it comes to university shootings. I hear a lot about hazing, but my question is about protecting kids, not kids, but young men and young women from university violence. … Virginia Tech was something very controversial."

Students can be heard grumbling and laughing. Kinyua then refers to a notebook and asks if the university could develop an off-campus hazing policy, referring to "blood sacrifices. … I just want to inform people, because most people are unaware of it."

After Kinyua concludes his remarks, the host of the event, vice president for student affairs Tanya Rush, says "time is winding up."

The remarks mirror themes of a posting on Kinyua's Facebook page from two weeks later. "IT'S BEEN ALL TOO TRAGIC WITH THE DOUBLE UNIVERSITY SHOOTINGS AT VIRGINIA TECH, AND OTHER PAST UNIVERSITY KILLINGS AROUND THE COUNTRY. NOW FOR A TWIST: ETHNIC CLEANSING IS THE POLICY, STRATEGY AND TACTICS THAT WILL AFFECT YOU, DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY IN THE COMING MONTHS," he wrote in one message, warning fellow "HBCUers" — an abbreviation for students who attend historically black colleges and universities. "THIS IS THE BRUTAL BASIS, AN EVIL & TERRIFYING METHOD OF THIS DEATH CULTS."

On May 19, Kinyua again came to the university's attention, this time charged in the baseball bat attack in the doorway of a campus apartment building. Police charged Kinyua with assaulting Joshua Caesar, who is not a student at Morgan, hitting him in the head, fracturing his skull, arm and shoulder, and blinding him in his left eye.

Kinyua was charged with first-degree assault and reckless endangerment, and at his bail review was ordered held on $220,000 bond. He posted the bond and was freed.

Mark Cheshire, a spokesman for the Baltimore state's attorney's office, said prosecutors consult with police on charges in serious cases.

He added that "we have a limited amount of time and base charging decisions on the information we have at the time. We felt like this was the appropriate charge based on what we had at the time."

peter.hermann@baltsun.com

Timeline for Alexander Kinyua

Dec. 12 — Kinyua accused of punching a hole in a wall of a campus ROTC office two days earlier. A military instructor told police that the suspect was an "unusually angry person" and "a Virginia Tech waiting to happen." Kinyua barred from campus pending a judicial review.

Jan. 31 — Kinyua talks about human sacrifice at an anti-hazing forum attended by students and university officials, including the judicial officer who according to police was to handle the ROTC incident a month earlier.

May 19 — Police arrest and charge Kinyua with first-degree assault after authorities said he randomly attacked a young man, hitting him over the head with a baseball bat wrapped in chains.

May 23 — Kinyua released on $220,000 bail after parents make a public plea for help raising money.

May 25 — Kujoe Bonsafo Agyei-Kodie, 37, reported missing.

May 30 — Suspect's brother finds hands, head in tin boxes in basement of home in Harford County. Father calls police, and they find remains in home and in trash bin at nearby church. Kinyua charged with first-degree murder.

May 31 — Court documents reveal suspect says he ate victim's heart, part of brain

Source: Court documents, police reports, interviews

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