By all accounts, Binghamton University graduate student Abdulsalam S. Al-Zahrani is penniless.
Somehow, however, the Saudi national is now represented by a New York City criminal defense attorney.
It is not known who is paying the legal fees of lawyer Frederica L. Miller, who was retained to represent Al-Zahrani, according to Town of Vestal court records. Al-Zahrani is charged with second-degree murder in the Friday stabbing death of 77-year-old anthropology professor emeritusRichard Antoun.
The Saudi Gazette, however, is reporting that the Consulate in New York has assigned a lawyer to represent Al-Zahrani.
Calls to the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington, D.C., were referred to its New York City consulate. Representatives at the consulate were unavailable for comment Wednesday, as was Broome County District Attorney Gerald Mollen.
Al-Zahrani, a cultural anthropology graduate student, complained of financial troubles to professor Joshua Price a half-hour before the slaying.
During their discussion, Price said, Al-Zahrani requested a transfer to the Philosophy, Interpretation and Culture program, including access to financial aid through a teaching assistantship.
Price, in an e-mail to colleague Bill Haver, described Al-Zahrani as a "desperate grad student from anthropology. He's about to be evicted and seemed visibly nervous ..."
Miller, whose office is on Broadway in New York City, said she would not comment on the case Wednesday night.
According to her Web site, Miller is a 1986 graduate of Antioch School of Law in Washington, D.C. She specializes in criminal defense, white collar crime and family law. A former assistant district attorney for Kings County and member of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor's Office in New York City, Miller went into private practice in 1998. She is a member of the New York City and New York state bar associations.
Al-Zahrani, 46, is in the Broome jail without bail. He was arraigned in Town of Vestal Court at 12:58 a.m. Saturday, nearly 12 hours after the stabbing.