By most accounts from the famously close-knit family of Morgan State University (MSU) engineering students, 21-year-old Alexander Kinyua was quiet and friendly – a stark contrast to the admitted cannibal arrested last week on charges of murder and assault.
Students in the Clarence M. Mitchell School of Engineering have remained fairly tight-lipped about their former classmate, most declining to comment on Kinyua, who according to university officials, was forced off campus after allegedly fracturing the skull of another student with a bat on May 19.
The victim, Joshua Ceaser, who was blinded in one eye by the attack, declined to comment.
“I knew him personally,” said William Barnes, a senior electrical and computer and engineering student and friend of the accused. “He was the motivated type. He seemed happy-go-lucky at times and very inquisitive,” said the upperclassman who became acquainted with Kinyua not only through shared courses, but through the MSU ROTC program he says gave his friend much needed structure.
“The whole time he was in ROTC, at first, it seemed like he had his head together- it was a control system, but somewhere in there he started searching for other outlets,” said Barnes, reflecting back to December 2011, when Kinyua punched holes into walls of a computer lab for ROTC members in an outburst.
According to university officials, the ROTC program confirmed the incident led to his ousting from the military training program, a move Barnes believes Kinyua couldn’t handle mentally.
“There were a number of people who spoke with him after that event and no one really assessed that he was a threat to himself or anyone else on the campus community,” said Jarret Carter, associate director of public relations for the university, adding that the general consensus among faculty and staff at the time was that he would not be a serious problem.
The story began May 25 when Ghana native Kujoe Bonsafo Agyei-Kodie was last seen at the Kinyua family home, his temporary residence, on Terrapin Terrace. Agyei-Kodie was preparing for a 5:30 am run in the Joppatowne neighborhood, according to documents released by the Harford County Sheriff’s Office.
When the MSU grad student hadn’t returned by nightfall, Antony Kinyua, head of the Kinyua family of five, filed a missing person report.
For five days no one had heard from Agyei-Kodie who had once been arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, but recently released with supervision, according to police reports.
The night of May 29 Alexander Kinyua’s brother Jarrod made the gruesome discovery of Agyei-Kodie’s head and hands. In the early hours of May 30, Alexander Kinyua was arrested and charged in the slaying.
The charging documents said Kinyua admitted to hacking up his housemate of one week, and then told police “he had ingested Mr. Kodie’s heart and portions of his brain.”
The young man then led police to Town Baptist Church at 536 Trimble Road where police, under Kinyua’s direction, found the remaining pieces of Agyei-Kodie’s body.
“It’s shocking- that this is one of our own that we see every day and we know,” said Andre Shonubi, a senior industrial engineering student at MSU. “He was like everyone else. I didn’t see anything different about him.”
Students who knew both father and son from the Northeast Baltimore campus say the family was a respectable one.
“His father is my Physics II professor,” said senior engineering major Kendall Blackston, who met the younger Kinyua a year ago. Blackstone says his classmate “isn’t what everyone portrays him to be or what he turned out to be. That’s not how anyone in this building knew him,” said Blackston.
On Valentine’s Day Kinyua questioned if other students were “strong enough to endure ritual HBCU mass human sacrifices around the country and still be able to function as human beings?” The rants on Kinyua’s page also comment on the Virginia Tech mass shooting and said that “Ethnic cleansing is the policy, strategy and tactics that will affect you, directly or indirectly in the coming months.”
Kinyua also took time to photograph and post 66 pages of “Exploring the God Worlds,” a manual filled with teachings about the many levels of cosmic beings and parallel universes.
December notes on his page are filled with cosmic anecdotes such as “Blundering progress is still progress,” and “To have something different, one can ask, but very few ask.”
His past comments and posts, last updated May 17, have since drawn hundreds of hecklers locally and abroad.
“If you look at his page you actually see the mental digression,” said Barnes. “Looking at the last couple of pictures he posted, it seems like an alter ego- not him.”
If convicted, Kinyua could face the death penalty for a first-degree murder charge, up to 25 years in prison for the alleged first-degree assault, and 10 years or a $2,500 fine for the second-degree assault charge.