More than 500 Frostburg State University students gathered in the Lane University Center on Nov. 6, to mourn the brutal stabbing death of 19-year-old Kortneigh McCoy, a physics major in her sophomore year of studies.
Sharnee Liggins, 23, has been charged with first and second degree murder in this second fatal stabbing to take place this semester on a Maryland college campus. The Waldorf, Md. native has been held without bail since her arrest.
“Kortneigh was a classic picture of a butterfly. Beginning late and kind of shy, she evolved into a bubbly, warm personality,” said the Rev. Dr. Jamal Bryant, pastor of Empowerment Temple where McCoy attended and worked so diligently that the congregation granted her a scholarship to help with college expenses.
“She had an infectious personality, full of promise and hope. This is riveting down to the core and a painstaking journey for all of us,” said Rev. Bryant, who saw McCoy grow from a 9-year-old girl to a young college woman of purpose.
Witnesses to the crime say the altercation began inside the kitchen of the house Liggins rented, where several people were involved in a dispute McCoy attempted to calm. After exiting the party, witnesses say Liggins followed McCoy into the street where the verbal argument turned physical.
Liggins maintains her story that three men inside the house attacked her shortly before stabbing McCoy, even with four witnesses seeing a kitchen knife in her hand before, during and after the stabbing.
Police arrived at the off campus house party around 1:30 a.m. to find McCoy bleeding profusely from stab wounds to her neck and head. Statements from the Allegany County Police and court documents cite the official cause of death as a two to three inch stab wound to McCoy’s neck, which severed her carotid artery.
A Baltimore Polytechnic Institute graduate, McCoy was known as a peacemaker who loved to sing on her church and university choirs. “Nothing comes from violence and we all have a responsibility to teach about and work towards peace. There are better ways to resolve conflicts than hurting each other,” said Dr. Jonathan C. Gibralter, president of Frostburg State University in a statement released on the university’s website.
While police and university officials have been doing all they can to prevent violence on the campus, this is not the first fatal incident to occur between Frostburg students. Eighteen months ago two students were shot at close range with a shotgun by another Frostburg student after a fight at an off campus house party. One of those students, Brandon Carroll, was pronounced dead at a local hospital shortly thereafter.
According to the latest reports released by the FBI, between the years of 2005 and 2008 there were 174 murders at institutions of higher learning, with 82 of those murders occurring on properties directly adjacent to college campuses similar to the location where McCoy was found, a short walk from Simpson Hall where she worked as a resident assistant.
A wake will be held for Kortneigh McCoy, 10 a.m. Nov. 12 at Empowerment Temple, followed by a funeral service.