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Saudi graduate student charged with murder
Associated Press
2009-12-07 09:49 PM
A graduate student from Saudi Arabia, Abdulsalam al-Zahrani, has been charged with fatally stabbing a Binghamton University anthropology professor to death.

Al-Zahrani, 46, was charged Saturday with murder in the death of 77-year-old Richard T. Antoun. The professor was stabbed in his campus office Friday, and the weapon was later recovered, authorities said.

A roommate, Souleyman Sukho said over the weekend that al-Zahrani came at him with a blade during the three weeks they shared an apartment with a third student, Luis Pena.

Sukho and Pena said they never heard their roommate mention Antoun, who was a professor with the anthropology department, where al-Zahrani was working on a dissertation about early Arabic culture.

Antoun has written several books, including "Understanding Fundamentalism: Christian, Islamic, and Jewish Movements."

Pena says he recalls their roommate sitting on the sofa and suddenly blurting out, "I just feel like destroying the world." According to Sukho, al-Zahrani claimed there were students spying on him and he was being persecuted because he was Muslim.

Another student, Awni Qasaimeh, said al-Zahrani made similar claims in recent days, naming three students he suspected and saying: "Tell these students not to follow me. ... Do not make me trouble."

Broome County District Attorney Gerald Mollen said in a statement that "there is no indication of religious or ethnic motivation." Mollen didn't know whether al-Zahrani had an attorney.

Mollen said al-Zahrani and the professor had "known each other for quite some time."

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