BALTIMORE (AP) — A state university has agreed to a settlement with a Baltimore man who was attacked with a baseball bat wrapped in chains and barbed wire by a student who later told authorities he killed and cannibalized another man.
Last week, Morgan State University agreed to a $185,000 settlement with Joshua Ceasar, who sued the school in February 2013 alleging officials knew his attacker, Alex Kinyua, had violent tendencies. Ceasar was partially blinded in the attack.
In December 2011, more than six months before Kinyua attacked Ceasar in a dorm room, Sgt. Robert Edwards warned: “He’s a Virginia Tech waiting to happen.”
Days after the May 2012 attack on Ceasar, Kinyua told authorities he killed, dismembered and ate part of Kujoe Bonsafo Agyei-Kodie, a 37-year-old graduate student who had been staying with Kinyua’s family and missing for four days.
Kinyua pleaded guilty to both attacks, but was found not criminally responsible for either.
Neither Assistant Attorney General Corlie McCormick, who represents Morgan State, nor Clinton Coleman, director of public relations for Morgan State, immediately returned calls for comment.
Ceasar’s lawsuit said Kinyua, an ROTC cadet, began displaying erratic and aggressive behavior in 2011 when he destroyed an ROTC computer lab after being told he could not go to a football game because he was late to the bus. After the incident, Edwards, a senior military instructor in charge of the program, called the campus police.
“He had become combative, punched eight to 10 holes in our media lab and destroyed some computers,” Edwards told The Associated Press in June. “That’s when I called the police and told them I would have a Virginia Tech on my hands if they didn’t get involved. Kids like that whose behavior is so aggressive and erratic like that, at the spur of a moment they can snap, and wreak havoc on society. I feared somebody’s life was in jeopardy.”
Edwards added that the other cadets were “really terrified” of Kinyua and wanted him to move out of the ROTC dorm where he attacked Ceasar.
Following the media lab incident, school authorities recommended Kinyua meet with a counselor, but only for a single one-hour session, according to the lawsuit.
The suit also says Kinyua began posting “bizarre and troubling” messages on social media in the end of 2011 and beginning of 2012, and made cryptic comments about “blood sacrifice” during a campus forum. Two weeks before Kinyua attacked Ceasar, campus police were told that Kinyua had thrown a rock at an apartment window and that a person fitting his description was seen with a machete. Campus police searched Kinyua’s dorm but didn’t write a report, the lawsuit said.
The settlement is subject to final approval by the state board of public works. The university’s liability is capped at $200,000.
Silverman said Ceasar deserves “ten times more” than the state’s cap, but he said accepting a settlement just under the maximum makes more financial sense than “spending $50,000 on expert testimony to support our damages and then being stuck with a $200,000 judgment.”
Ceasar spent ten days in the hospital following the attack.
McCormick tried to convince a judge to toss the lawsuit in July 2013, arguing that the beating wasn’t foreseeable given Kinyua’s past behavior, but the judge sided with Silverman and said the school should have known something was “askew.”
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