32-year-old John Roby took the witness stand visibly anxious. About a year ago, he was a graduate student who shared classes with Abdulsalam al-Zahrani. Al-Zahrani is accused of stabbing and killing beloved Binghamton University professor, Richard Antoun, in his campus office.
Roby says al-Zahrani was a friendly person and not a violent character.
He did however, remember an instance when he thought al-Zahrani acted strangely.
It was September 2009, three months before Professor Antoun's death, al-Zahrani was supposed to be in Michigan on a field study. Instead, he was at the university.
When Roby approached al-Zahrani, he says there was a coldness to him. "Yes, I'm back" was his only response, and he turned away.
There was also a letter presented to the court, written by al-Zahrani before Professor Antoun's death. In it, al-Zahrani accuses Roby of being threatening. He recalls an instance when he asked Roby why he was intimidating him. The letter says Roby's response was, "Because we're smarter than you."
Roby denied the statement was ever made.
Another witness is scheduled to appear on Monday, and the trial is set to begin February 22.