The case involving a Binghamton University graduate student accused of killing a professor last December by stabbing him multiple times with a knife is headed to trial.
Pre-trial hearings are scheduled for Nov. 1 and a trial date is set for Jan. 18 in Broome County Court, District Attorney Gerald Mollen said Friday afternoon. The news followed a pre-trial conference earlier that day.
Abdulsalam al-Zahrani, 46, was accused of stabbing Richard Antoun, an emeritus professor of anthropology, on Dec. 4 in Science Building 1 on the Binghamton University campus. He was indicted Jan. 22 by a grand jury on one felony count of second-degree murder. He pleaded not guilty.
One of al-Zahrani's attorneys, Vincent Accardi of Binghamton, declined comment on Friday's developments. Al-Zahrani's legal expenses are being paid by the consulate of Saudi Arabia.
Records filed in July in Broome County Court by New York City-based defense attorney Frederica Miller indicate al-Zahrani was suffering from a longstanding mental illness -- schizoaffective disorder -- and that he lacked substantial capacity to know or appreciate the nature and consequences of his conduct.
Miller could not be reached Friday.
Evidence would include testimony from the defense's medical experts, Steven Simring and Charles Patrick Ewing, records show. Mollen has said the prosecution would have its own doctors examine al-Zahrani.
Al-Zahrani was a doctoral student in BU's anthropology department. Antoun, 77, an expert on Middle Eastern cultures, had published several well known works. Mollen has said the killing was not related to Antoun's expertise in the Middle East.
Al-Zahrani remains in the Broome County jail without bail. A conviction on the second-degree murder charge would carry a minimum sentence of 15 years to life and a maximum of 25 years to life, under New York statutes.