Appalachian School of Law Shootings

This shows the part of each story that mentions how Peter O. was captured. The full text of these stories is here, while an index is here

Tue, 22 Jan 2002


Wire Reports
The Washington Times


RICHMOND - A Lunenburg Correctional Center inmate died from bacterial meningitis two days after he was scheduled to be paroled, the Department of Corrections announced yesterday.

James Ball, 45, of Hampton died last Thursday, spokesman Larry Traylor said.

No one else at the 1,100-inmate prison near Victoria has come down with symptoms, Mr. Traylor said. All inmates and staff at the prison who came into contact with Ball were given Cipro, a powerful antibiotic.

Ball became so ill that he was sent to a hospital in South Hill on Jan. 3 and then transferred to the Medical College of Virginia Hospitals in Richmond later that day, he said.

Ball had been in prison off and on since 1991 for crimes including maiming, use of a firearm in a felony, attempted arson and parole violations, Mr. Traylor said. He was to have been paroled Jan. 15.


MCLEAN - The fire that killed a man at a McLean home appears to have been an accident, Fairfax County police said.

A man checking on the welfare of his 32-year-old son at 1612 Simmons Drive on Sunday found a body inside the residence. Police said the fire might have been caused by a space heater.

The body still has not been identified, and the cause of death remains unknown. Police said an autopsy will be performed.


ARLINGTON - A Marine Corps sergeant from Fort Knox, Ky., has been arrested and charged in the fatal shootings of his wife, his 5-year-old daughter and his wife’s friend, police said yesterday.

Arlington County police Sgt. Jim Daly said a motel guest heard a woman scream Sunday night at the Cherry Blossom TraveLodge. Motel workers called police, and officers who responded at 8:15 p.m. found one woman dead in one room and another woman and the girl with gunshot wounds in another room, Daly said.

The second woman was pronounced dead at Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington, and the girl was transported to Washington Hospital Center, where she was pronounced dead shortly after arrival, Sgt. Daly said.

Killed in the shooting were the man’s wife, Maya Lajuan Davidson Cooper, 22; Marie Gault, 20; and Desiree Cooper, 5. All three were from Arlington. It is not clear which woman was in which room.

Sgt. Zachary Cooper Sr. of Fort Knox, Ky., was charged with one count of murder and is being held without bond in the Arlington County Detention Center. The investigation is continuing.

Investigators did not have a motive for the shooting.

The three slayings were more than Arlington had in all of 2001, when the county had two homicides, Sgt. Daly said.

It was the second triple homicide in the history of the county. The first was in 1995, Sgt. Daly said.


GRUNDY - Two students wounded in last week’s shooting rampage at the Appalachian School of Law have been released from a hospital.

Rebecca Brown, 38, of Roanoke and Martha Madeline Short, 37, of Clintwood were discharged Sunday from Wellmont Holston Valley Medical Center in Kingsport, Tenn., according to a hospital spokeswoman.

A third student, Stacey Beans, 22, of Paducah, Ky., was upgraded from fair to good condition, she said. All three were expected to make a full recovery, she said.

The school’s dean, L. Anthony Sutin, professor Thomas Blackwell and student Angela Dales were slain in the shooting spree.

Dismissed student Peter Odighizuwa, 43, a native of Nigeria, is charged with three counts of capital murder, three counts of attempted capital murder and six weapons counts in the shootings. Police said Mr. Odighizuwa recently had flunked out of school.

The private law school, which opened five years ago in a renovated junior high school, has an enrollment of about 200 students.

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