College evaluated cannibal suspect before attack
BALTIMORE – When a Maryland cannibalism suspect had an outburst last year in a Morgan State University computer lab, college officials evaluated him and found that he didn't pose a threat to the campus.
Now, a former student who said he was beaten with a baseball bat days before the gruesome attack says the university should have done more to warn people about Alex Kinyua, the man charged in both cases.
Joshua Ceasar said Friday that if he had heard about the December outburst in the lab he would have steered clear of Kinyua and dodged an attack that left him partially blind. The outburst got Kinyua kicked out of ROTC and led an instructor to tell police that Kinyua was "Virginia Tech waiting to happen." Kinyua also made cryptic comments about "blood sacrifice" at a January university forum with administrators present.
"If I knew, I wouldn't have been anywhere near him or that building," Ceasar said. His attorney, Steve Silverman, is exploring a lawsuit and investigating whether the university could have done more.
The university is doing a "top-to-bottom" review, but it appears procedures were followed, school spokesman Clinton Coleman said.
Two campus officers visited Kinyua after the December outburst and he was assessed by the counseling center, Coleman said.
"If the university had reason to believe that any student or non-student represented a danger, of course the university would have taken the appropriate steps to remove the person from campus or render them harmless," he said.
In early May, police received a report that a young man matching Kinyua's description was carrying a machete around campus, Coleman said. Officers immediately tracked him to his room and searched, but didn't find such a weapon, he said.
Ceasar, who remained friends with Kinyua's roommates even though he had transferred to another school, was on campus May 19 for a friend's graduation. He walked into Kinyua's apartment and was hit on the head with a baseball bat wrapped in chains and barbed wire.
Ceasar, of Egg Harbor, N.J., said he doesn't know why Kinyua attacked him. Ceasar's friends told him they found Kinyua over Ceasar with a knife.
Days later, Ceasar learned Kinyua had told the Harford County Sheriff's investigators that he used a knife to kill and carve up Kujoe Bonsafo Agyei-Kodie, 37, before eating his heart and brain. Agyei-Kodie, a native of Ghana, had been staying at the Kinyua family's Joppatowne home for about six weeks when he disappeared May 25.
His body was found four days later about 15 miles away from campus. Investigators haven't given a possible motive.
"It freaked me out because I figured that's exactly what he was going to do to me if he was standing over top of me with a knife," Ceasar said. "He was probably planning to do that to me and that just doesn't sit easy with me. I think about it all the time."
Kinyua has been charged with assault and reckless endangerment in the Ceasar attack, and murder and assault in the killing.
Attorney Richard Boucher, who represented Kinyua at a bail hearing in the assault, told the judge that Kinyua acted out of fear for his life when he hit Ceasar. Kinyua had told the attorney that Ceasar had told him he would have a gun the next time he saw him, he said.
"He felt threatened and that's why he responded in the manner that he did," Boucher said. Ceasar said he never threatened Kinyua.
Almost three weeks later, Ceasar says he still has not heard from anyone with the university.
"No school official has said anything to me," he said. "I feel like they haven't spoken about it because there is something to hide and they're trying to clean up."
Once the facts are known and the review is complete, Coleman said the university plans to inform the larger community.