A graduate student accused of stabbing a
Binghamton University professor to death in
2009 is not mentally competent to be tried
Instead, Abdulsalam al-Zahrani, 46, will be
placed in the custody of a state psychiatric
facility until he is deemed mentally
competent to be tried, said Chief Assistant
District Attorney Joann Rose Parry.
Broome County Judge Joseph F. Cawley Jr.
signed the competency order this morning
Al-Zahrani's trial on one felony count of
second-degree murder was to have begun
with jury selection Tuesday morning. On
Friday, however, the potential jurors were
told not to report to court.
No new trial date has been set, Parry said
Tuesday. The order was signed after a
competency hearing and a determination
by mental health professionals that al-
Zahrani was mentally incompetent to understand the charge or be tried.
The graduate student's behavior was
described by other students to reporters
as erratic in the days and weeks before
Richard Antoun, a professor emeritus in
BU's anthropology department, was
stabbed to death Dec. 4, 2009 in Science
Building 1 on the BU campus.
Al-Zahrani has been in the Broome County
Jail without bail since he was charged in
Antoun's murder on Dec. 5, 2009.
He'll be transported to a state psychiatric
hospital for treatment, as a result of the
order. The order is good for up to year.
Al-Zahrani will go on trial when he is
deemed mentally competent, Parry said.