Binghamton University shaken by deaths of 2 students in 5 weeks

Freshman Joao Souza was found stabbed to death Sunday in his dorm room. Five weeks earlier, Haley Anderson, a nursing student, was found strangled.
by Kiara Alfonseca /

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The killings of two students in just over five weeks have left the Binghamton University campus in mourning and on edge.

In the first case, Haley Anderson, 22, a nursing student from Long Island, was found strangled in an off-campus apartment on March 9.

That apartment was the home of Orlando Tercero, also 22 and a fellow nursing student, who has been charged with second-degree murder in her death. He first fled to Nicaragua, where he holds dual citizenship, according to The Associated Press. Shortly before Anderson's body was found, he was captured by Nicaraguan police. He is being held in the capital, Managua.

Tercero and Anderson, according to local reports based on police statements, were previously romantically involved.

Five weeks later, on Sunday night, Joao Souza, an engineering major from Brazil, was found stabbed to death in his dorm room in Windham Hall.

Image: Joao Souza
Joao Souzavia NBC New York

A fellow student, Michael Roque, was charged Monday with second-degree murder in connection to Souza's death, and has pleaded not guilty.

As Roque sits in Broome County Jail, Binghamton University police and New York State Police continue their investigation into what officials say "was not a random act, and the victim was targeted," according to a statement from the university. No motive has yet been declared.

Souza, according to university officials, had graduated from Blind Brook High School in White Plains, New York, just last year.

"This has been a very difficult semester for me and the entire campus with two student deaths in just a few weeks," the university's president, Harvey Stenger, said in a statement. These tragedies shake us to the core and we grieve together."

Image: Michael Roque
Michael RoqueBroome County Sheriff Office

University officials have offered grief counseling and an alert on-campus police force. Though residence halls are always locked, university officials are warning students to refuse entry to those without key card access to the buildings and to keep individual suite doors secured.

Some students, like Binghamton senior Natalie Lista, are frustrated and exhausted. With reports that the murder of Anderson was motivated by jealousy and rejection, Lista wonders what more could have been done.

"What are we doing so wrong in raising boys, and in treating men like their desires matter more than people's lives?" said Lista. "I get the feeling that nobody is that surprised, but we're all disappointed and tired and sad."

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