This article was updated at 1:24 p.m. on April 19.
Binghamton University sophomore Michael Roque, 20, is charged with second-degree murder for the stabbing of fellow BU student Joao Souza.
At a press conference on Monday night, police confirmed that Roque, of Massapequa, New York, was arrested in his dormitory room in Hunter Hall of Mountainview College on Monday afternoon. Police declined to release details of Roque’s whereabouts before his arrest, but were seen searching the Binghamton University Nature Preserve, Hillside Community and Susquehanna Community on Monday before his arrest was announced at the 5 p.m. press conference. BU director of media and public relations Ryan Yarosh said on Thursday that those police officers were searching for evidence.
He was held on campus and transferred to Broome County Jail around 8:30 p.m. Monday for arraignment. Roque pleaded not guilty and was remanded without bail.
“There is a suspect in custody, and we will have further information at an appropriate time,” said Broome County District Attorney Steve Cornwell. “We are very limited in what we can provide today, but we believe that charges are imminent and I can’t really speak to any of the facts of the case other than that.”
Following Roque’s arraignment, the District Attorney’s Office is expected to present the case to a grand jury for indictment. Roque faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted.
Roque graduated in 2016 from Syosset High School, where he ran track. He has six siblings. His brother, Julio Roque, was charged with fourth-degree sexual assault in February 2016 after he was accused of sexually assaulting a sleeping female in a residence hall at Fairfield University, according to the Fairfield Citizen.
Souza, 19, died after he was stabbed on the ground floor of Windham Hall of Mountainview College late Sunday night, police said.
The fatal stabbing occurred around 10:30 p.m., according to a B-Alert sent out by the University at 11:14 p.m. Binghamton’s New York State University Police were on the scene, as well as New York State Police. According to authorities, Roque fled on foot, prompting a 20-hour manhunt on campus and surrounding areas.
Souza was a freshman majoring in engineering who graduated last year from Blind Brook High School in Rye Brook, New York. He was a member of the Zeta Psi fraternity and was originally from Brazil. According to police, he was found seriously injured in his suite and was taken by Harpur’s Ferry ambulance to United Health Services Wilson Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. Police said the attack was not random, however, no motive has been released.
The homicide marks the second murder of a BU student in the past five weeks. Senior Haley Anderson, 22, was found dead inside a student residence on the city of Binghamton’s West Side on March 9. Police say Anderson was strangled by Orlando Tercero, a 22-year-old student who later fled the country. Tercero has been charged with second-degree murder and is currently awaiting extradition in Nicaragua.
According to University President Harvey Stenger, the University will be reviewing its safety measures in the coming weeks.
“I promise that we will learn from this tragedy, and I want to thank all those people who have worked so diligently over the last 20 hours to bring some closure to this horrible tragedy,” Stenger said. “We are going to go over the last 20 hours, everything that happened, everything that we did, how we communicated with our population, with our community, and see if there are ways we could’ve done it better. You kind of learn on the fly with these things, and we want to make sure that if anything could have been done better, especially with the communication with our community, we learn from that.”