Victim believes bat attack foreshadowed Md. cannibal case
Joshua Ceasar is shown in a hospital bed after being attacked at Morgan State University by Alexander Kinyua, who was later charged with killing a housemate and eating part of the body. (Photo courtesy of Steve Silverman / June 18, 2012)
Even more terrifying: Days after being freed on bail in that incident, Kinyua would be charged with killing a family friend in his parents' house in Joppa, dismembering him and eating his heart and part of his brain.
Now, Ceasar thinks that he narrowly escaped the same fate. His friends intervened in the May 19 attack, shoving Kinyua against a wall and dislodging the weapon in a third-floor hallway of a Morgan State University apartment.
"I believe he was going to do to me what he did to the next victim," the 22-year-old former Morgan student said Tuesday, speaking publicly for the first time.
The chilling account and details about how Kinyua came to be released on bail shed new light on the days leading up to the killing of Kujoe Bonsafo Agyei-Kodie, 37. The killing has raised questions about whether law enforcement and school officials missed warning signs in Kinyua's behavior, which police reports and interviews say escalated from bizarre musings to tantrums to violence.
Ceasar believes that Kinyua, a 21-year-old electrical engineering student, should not have been allowed back on campus after he was accused of punching holes in an office wall, speaking at a student forum about blood sacrifice and being labeled by an ROTC instructor as "a Virginia Tech waiting to happen."
"I felt all these things that were going on could've been prevented," said Ceasar, who transferred out of Morgan a year ago and is now finishing studies at another local university, which he did not want to name. "I mean, he was talking about human sacrifice. That should've set off an alarm."
Ceasar's attorney, Steve Silverman, said he is investigating whether Morgan staff were negligent in failing to identify what he called a "ticking time bomb and extract him from the university community."
University officials, who had remained quiet about the killing and the link to the North Baltimore campus, said for the first time Tuesday that they're conducting a sweeping self-examination in the aftermath of the slaying.
Morgan spokesman Clinton R. Coleman said university president David Wilson is leading a review of "every level of the organization that might have had contact with this young man."
"As with every incident, we're looking at how this was handled and could it have been handled better," Coleman said. "Were there levels of the university that should have been in contact about this and weren't?"
Morgan authorities barred Kinyua, a U.S. citizen from Kenya, after police said he punched holes in a wall at an ROTC office in December. An instructor also kicked him out of the military program, describing Kinyua to a Morgan police officer as an "unusually angry person."
Kinyua was not criminally charged in that incident, but was cited for destruction of campus property and returned to campus after meeting with the school's chief judiciary officer. Five months later, Kinyua was charged with first-degree assault in the attack on Ceasar.
At his District Court bail hearing May 21, he was backed by people with connections and represented by a private attorney. He had his father — a physics professor at Morgan, his uncle who is president of the Baltimore Rotary Club, and a university athletics booster prepared to testify on his behalf.
"Except for this aberration, he is not a danger to the community," attorney Richard Boucher told District Judge Jamey Hueston, according to an audio recording of the proceeding.
Kinyua was being held on $220,000 bond in the case, set by a District Court commissioner. But a representative from pretrial services, which conducts background checks on defendants, suggested his bail be revoked, and Assistant State's Attorney Julie Potter agreed. "There are several witnesses who say this defendant attacked the victim with a bat. This is extremely violent," Potter said.
Unsaid at the hearing was that the bat was wrapped in chains, which is mentioned in the police report, and that the victim and witnesses said the attack was "random."
Boucher countered that based on charging documents, it "doesn't appear a great deal of investigation was done." He claimed Ceasar had threatened Kinyua in the past — which Ceasar and his attorney denied — and had mentioned "he would have a gun the next time they saw one another." He said the incident wasn't random, and that Kinyua was at his residence when it occurred.
"Mr. Kinyua was in fear for his life, and defended himself, based on previous threats that had taken place," Boucher said. He requested that bail be reduced to $100,000.