Saudi student kills Binghamton Religion Professor

A 46-year-old Binghamton University graduate student has been charged with killing his professor.

A 46-year-old Binghamton University graduate student has been charged with killing his professor.

Abdulsalam Al-Zahrani was charged early Saturday morning with second-degree murder in the stabbing death of BU anthropology professor emeritus Richard T. Antoun, according to police.

Abdulsalam al-Zahrani

Antoun knew Al-Zahrani, a Saudi national, through his work in BU's anthropology graduate program, according to a statement released Saturday by Broome County District Attorney Gerald Mollen.

"There is no indication of religious or ethnic motivation," according to Mollen's statement.

Mollen would not reveal a motive for the killing.

Al-Zahrani, who lives in Binghamton, is a cultural anthropology graduate student who is working on his doctoral thesis, "Sacred Voice, Profane Sight: The Senses, Cosmology, and Epistemology in Early Arabic Culture," according to BU's Web site.

Professor Richard Antoun

He was arraigned in Town of Vestal Court before he was transferred to the Broome County Jail without bail, police said.

Antoun, 77, was attacked inside BU's Science I building Friday afternoon and taken to Wilson Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

Al-Zahrani "intentionally caused the death of Professor Emeritus Richard T. Antoun, Department of Anthropology, by stabbing him to death in Science I building of Binghamton University on the afternoon of December 4, 2009," according to the DA's office.

No further arrests are expected.

Mollen said he was not sure if Al-Zahrani had an attorney.

"I don't know if the public defender was assigned or not," he said.

BU issued a statement Friday, calling the incident "an act of senseless violence," but on Saturday said no information about Al-Zahrani would be forthcoming from the university. University police said all information regarding the case would be disseminated by the Broome County District Attorney's Office.

University police were assisted in the investigation by the following agencies: state police, Vestal police, Binghamton police, Johnson City police, Federal Bureau of Investigation and Broome County District Attorney's Office.

"The investigation is ongoing," according to the DA's office.

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