The trial of a former Binghamton University graduate student accused of stabbing a professor to death is on hold.
Potential jurors summoned to appear Tuesday morning in Broome County Court for jury duty are being informed via the website, www.nycourts.gov, not to report to court.
Abdulsalam al-Zahrani, 46, was set to go on trial nearly 15 months after he was accused of stabbing Richard Antoun, an emeritus professor of anthropology, in Science Building 1 on the Binghamton University campus. He was indicted Jan. 22, 2010, by a grand jury on one felony count of second-degree murder. He pleaded not guilty.
Contacted Friday night, Broome County District Attorney Gerald F. Mollen declined to discuss the most recent developments in the case. Mollen said the court has not yet issued an order adjourning the trial.
Judge Martin E. Smith had booked two weeks for the trial, Mollen said earlier this week.
In court documents filed in July, New York City-based defense attorney Frederica Miller wrote that psychiatric evidence will show al-Zahrani lacked substantial capacity to know or appreciate the nature and consequences of his conduct.
Mollen said the prosecution had its own doctors examine al-Zahrani.
Neither Miller nor Vincent Accardi, of Binghamton, who is al-Zahrani's local attorney, would comment earlier this week.
The defendant's legal expenses are being paid by the consulate of Saudi Arabia.
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, including a book about fundamentalism.
In previous interviews, al-Zahrani's roommates described him as confrontational in the days before the stabbing and upset about losing financing for a doctoral project in anthropology.
Following the stabbing, BU established a Student of Concern Committee, which brings together administrators from across the campus to make a more informed response to students in distress, said Gail Glover, director of media relations.
Al-Zahrani has been 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.