BINGHAMTON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A Binghamton University student accused of fatally stabbing a 19-year-old freshman on the university’s main campus has pleaded not guilty.
A public defender representing 20-year-old Michael Roque entered the plea on his behalf Monday. Roque faces a charge of second-degree murder in the killing of Joao Souza.
Police said Souza was attacked Sunday night in a residence suite on the campus near the Pennsylvania state line.
“He got along with everyone, really respectful kid,” said former teammate Giuliano Santucci. “I’m not sure why this would happen to him.”
Police released pictures of the suspect Monday, seen leaving his dorm with his face hidden, CBS2’s Marc Liverman reported. Just hours later, the arrest was made.
“We can confirm the suspect is a student and that he’s in custody,” said Broome County District Attorney Steve Cornwell.
University police chief Timothy Faughnan says investigators believe the suspect targeted Souza. Faughnan wouldn’t give any other details about the case.
Friends and former teammates are still trying to make sense of the tragedy.
“I received a text from one of my other teammates,” said Santucci. “He let me know what happened and I just dropped my phone.”
“On the field, off the field, in the classroom, out of the classroom, the man was all around a wonderful person,” said former classmate Sammy Landino.
Souza’s family is from Brazil and graduated last year from Blind Brook High School in Rye Brook. His teammates say he found a second home with his soccer team in the U.S.
“I’m going to fight for you every game I play,” said Santucci. “You’ll be in my prayers.”
University president Harvey Stenger said in a statement that police are working with the community to keep the campus safe.
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. Authorities said she had been strangled.
The Broome County district attorney’s office is seeking to have the suspect from that case returned from Nicaragua to stand trial.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)