A 46-year-old Binghamton University graduate student from Saudi Arabia was charged on Saturday with killing a retired anthropology professor, a specialist in Islamic and Middle Eastern studies with whom he had worked, the authorities said.
The student, Abdulsalam S. al-Zahrani, was charged with second-degree murder in the death of the professor, Richard T. Antoun, who was stabbed in his office in the university's Science I building on Friday afternoon, said Gerald F. Mollen, the district attorney in Broome County. "We believe the murder weapon was recovered," he said.
Mr. Mollen said in a statement that Mr. Zahrani and Professor Antoun had known each other through Mr. Zahrani's "work in the graduate program." Later, in an interview, the district attorney said that "they've known each other for quite some time." The extent of their contact was not immediately clear.
Mr. Zahrani, a citizen of Saudi Arabia who is a graduate student in anthropology, was being held without bail at the Broome County Sheriff's Correctional Facility after his arraignment in Town Court in Vestal, N.Y., Mr. Mollen said.
Mr. Mollen declined to say whether Mr. Zahrani had made any statements to the authorities. He said he was unsure if the suspect had retained a lawyer.
Professor Antoun, 77, received a doctorate from Harvard in 1963 and joined the Binghamton faculty in the early 1970s. He was "a sociocultural anthropologist who has conducted research among peasants in Jordan, urbanites in Lebanon, peasant farmers in Iran and migrants in Texas and Greece," according to the university's Web site. He retired in 1999 as professor emeritus.
"He dedicated his life to trying to understand the people of the Middle East," said the professor's sister Linda Miller, of Holden, Mass. "He never said an unkind word to anyone in his life."
Ms. Miller's husband, the Rev. David J. Miller, said that Professor Antoun had been married to his wife, Rosalyn, for 17 years and had a son, Nicholas, 40.
Professor Antoun's work focused on religion and the social organization of tradition in Islamic law and ethics, among other things, according to the university's Web site. He had taught at the University of Chicago, Manchester University in England and Cairo University, according to his curriculum vitae.
The killing was met with grief on the Binghamton campus, which is nearing the end of the fall semester. The university, which is part of the State University of New York system, has an enrollment of 15,000 students.
"Our entire community has been affected by this," Gail C. Glover, a university spokeswoman, said on Saturday. "We are feeling profoundly sad. Professor Antoun was a longtime member of our campus community, and his loss is profoundly felt."
In his statement, Mr. Mollen said there was "no indication of religious or ethnic motivation" in the killing. He said no other arrests were expected.
Asked if the suspect had any prior contact with university officials for any reason, Ms. Glover said, "I am sure all of this will be part of the investigation."
Campus police were called about 1:41 p.m. Friday to Professor Antoun's office on the ground floor of the Science I building, Ms. Glover said. Students in a volunteer ambulance service known as Harpur's Ferry also responded, she said. The professor, who had been stabbed a number of times, was taken to Wilson Regional Medical Center in Johnson City, N.Y., where he died, Mr. Mollen said.
University officials canceled some classes and events after the attack. But in an e-mail message sent within hours, they reported that a "suspect is in custody."
It was followed by an e-mail message from Lois B. DeFleur, the university president, who called the killing, "an act of senseless violence."
"Our hearts go out to the Antoun family," she added.