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

Students return to law school where gunman killed three, including dean and professor

Chris Kahn
The Associated Press

Ted Besen says he had yearned to become a defense attorney, but changed his mind in the wake of the slayings of the dean, a professor and another student at the Appalachian School of Law.

“I don’t ever want to defend someone like him,” Besen said.

The former Marine and police officer was among several students who tackled former classmate Peter Odighizuwa on the school’s front lawn after last week’s shootings.

When classes resume Wednesday at the school, Besen, 37, and others said they’ll return with mixed emotions.

“You just feel violated somehow,” Besen said Tuesday at a nearby restaurant.

“I’ve been having bad dreams,” said 42-year-old Mary Kilpatrick. “I guess there’s no more security in law schools than there is any other place.”

Kilpatrick said she and about 20 other students spent most of Monday in the school lounge, scrubbing blood stains from the rug and rearranging furniture.

“It’s therapeutic being back here; it keeps my mind off of things,” Kilpatrick said.

Police say Odighizuwa shot Dean L. Anthony Sutin and Professor Thomas Blackwell in their offices last Wednesday, then opened fire in the school lounge, killing student Angela Dales and injuring three others.

Odighizuwa, 43, had recently learned he’d flunked out for the second time. He’s charged with three counts of capital murder, three counts of attempted capital murder and six weapons charges. Prosecutors say they will seek the death penalty.

“We’re going to have an unofficial class reunion the day he gets the chair,” said Matthew Harvey, who spent the week driving between memorial services with other students.

The school reopened Tuesday, holding a two-hour counseling session and discussing the class schedule for the rest of the semester.

Outside, faculty and students wrote good-bye messages in memorial books that will be given to victims’ families.

“I keep expecting Dean Sutin to come back,” said 22-year-old Melanie Page. “I just miss them all so much.”

/nd/tackle/after18/byline | 004

With mixed feelings, students return to law school

Chris Kahn
The Associated Press State & Local Wire

Ted Besen glares over the crumbs of his sandwich, still angry about the former classmate who police say killed his school’s dean, a professor and another student in a shooting that shattered the peace of this tiny coal town.

“You just feel violated somehow,” Besen, 37, said Tuesday at a restaurant near the Appalachian School of Law. The former Marine and police officer was one of several students who charged Peter Odighizuwa, tackling him on the school’s front lawn, after the shootings last week.

When classes resume Wednesday at the Appalachian School of Law, Besen and others said they’ll return with mixed emotions. For certain, they said, nothing will be the same. v

“I’ve been having bad dreams,” said Mary Kilpatrick, 42, a third-year student from Kingsport, Tenn. “I guess there’s no more security in law schools than there is any other place.”

Odighizuwa, 43, is accused of gunning down Dean L. Anthony Sutin and Professor Thomas F. Blackwell, 41, in their offices last Wednesday, and of opening fire in the school lounge, killing Angela Dales, 33, and injuring three others, police said. v

Odighizuwa, a former teacher from Dayton, Ohio, had recently learned he’d flunked out of school for the second time. v

Authorities have charged him with three counts of capital murder, three counts of attempted capital murder and six weapons charges. Prosecutor Sheila Tolliver is seeking the death penalty.

“We’re going to have an unofficial class reunion the day he gets the chair,” said Matthew Harvey, 24, who spent the week driving between memorial services with other students.

Kilpatrick said she and about 20 other students spent most of Monday in the school lounge, scrubbing out blood stains in the rug and rearranging furniture.

“It’s therapeutic being back here; it keeps my mind off of things,” Kilpatrick said. v

The school reopened on Tuesday, holding a two-hour counseling session and discussing the class schedule for the rest of the semester. President Lucius Ellsworth announced that Marquette University Professor Jeffrey Kinsler has been hired to take over Sutin’s class on constitutional law.

Kinsler, who was planning to join the law school staff in the fall, will share teaching duties with both schools this semester, Ellsworth said.

Outside, faculty and students wrote good-bye messages in memorial books that will eventually be given to the victims’ families. They stepped out on the school’s front steps and released yellow and green balloons, watching quietly as the balloons rose above the hills and disappeared into a clear blue sky.

“I keep expecting Dean Sutin to come back,” said Melanie Page, 22. “I just miss them all so much.”

Wounded students Rebecca Brown, 38, of Roanoke and Martha Madeline Short, 37, of Grundy both have been released from the hospital. Stacey Beans, 22, of Berea, Ky., was discharged from Wellmont Bristol Regional Medical Center Tuesday. All three plan to spend time with family before returning to school.

But the memories will last forever.

Besen said he can still hear the shrieks of fleeing students when gunfire first ripped through the school. His wife had applied to Appalachian Law School in hopes of also pursuing a legal education, but now it’s likely they’ll move away after he graduates in June.

Besen said he was thinking of working as a defense attorney when he applied to the Appalachian School of Law. But Odighizuwa has changed his mind.

“I don’t ever want to defend someone like him.”

/nd/tackle/after18/byline | 027

Mon, 21 Jan 2002

Blue-collar Appalachian community embraces its new law school in time of crisis

Chris Kahn
The Associated Press

It seemed like a risky proposition: building a law school in a small struggling coal town isolated by the rugged Appalachian Mountains.

But with area mines closing and the young moving away to find work, town officials pushed ahead, opening the Appalachian School of Law in 1997 inside an old brick school house.

“We needed this, anything that could help,” said W.H. Trivett, 77, mayor of the blue-collar town of about 1,100.

It took time for the new students to gain acceptance in the close-knit community where many residents’ families had lived for generations.

“We had to get used to people from different cultures living here - and they had to get used to us,” said Richie Mullins, 35, who sells law school text books out of his bicycle store on Main Street.

But any lingering doubts students and faculty may have had about their neighbors’ feelings disappeared last week as the town responded after a disgruntled former student allegedly walked into the school and shot to death the dean, a professor and a student.

In the days that followed, signs of support appeared throughout Grundy.

“ASL our thoughts and prayers are with you,” read a banner in the parking lot of Rife’s TV.

A grocery in nearby Vansant donated ham biscuits, cookies and soda pop to the Baptist church for a memorial service.

Loweda Gillespie, 61, tied yellow ribbons around store fronts, telephone poles and trees.

“We wanted to let them know we’re family,” Gillespie said.

Dean L. Anthony Sutin, 42, and Professor Tom Blackwell, 41, were slain in their offices Wednesday. Law student Angela Dales, 33, died later at the hospital. Three other students were wounded.

The gunfire sent terrified students running from the building before classmates tackled the alleged shooter. Peter Odighizuwa, 43, who had been dismissed from the school because of failing grades, is charged with three counts of capital murder, three counts of attempted capital murder and six weapons charges. The prosecutor said she will seek the death penalty.

Residents attended memorial services throughout the week, placing flowers on the school’s concrete sign as victims’ families and friends wept in small, shivering circles.

“It’s so heartwarming to see this,” school president Lucius Ellsworth said Saturday. “There’s no doubt that out of this tragedy, this community has united.”

For decades, officials wanted to build a law school in southwest Virginia to create jobs and provide a legal resource for the remote mountain area.

“In all rural areas, there is a real lack of legal education,” said Ellsworth, a former education official in Tennessee and vice chancellor of Clinch Valley College in Wise. Before the law school came to Grundy, there was no other law school within a three-hour drive.

The Appalachian School of Law now has about 200 students. The American Bar Association granted it provisional accreditation last year. And everyone at the school - students and faculty alike - is required to support the town with 25 hours of community service per term.

Students, many of whom are older and looking for a second career, tutor Grundy school children.

“These kids, the way they’re allowed to work with the public, I’m sure they’re getting a better education than they could in other places,” Trivett said.

Among the faculty, Blackwell was one of the most involved. His children regularly helped out at the Mountain Mission School, a local agency for orphans and children of extreme poverty. He and his wife, Lisa, sang in a church choir, and he was on a committee to find a new pastor.

“Y’all have become our family,” Lisa Blackwell said at a memorial service for her husband Friday. “We have more love here than we could possibly have asked for.”

Blackwell’s funeral was planned for Monday in Dallas, where the family lived before moving to Grundy. A private memorial service for Sutin was held Sunday at the local high school.

“He came to Grundy because he thought he could use his talents to help people in Appalachia, and to help boost the economy of a small coal town,” said Kent Markus, Sutin’s former Harvard Law School roommate and one of about 500 people who attended the service. “He was trying to help the sons and grandsons of coal miners.”

At the law school, classes were expected to resume Tuesday. The faculty shuffled around schedules to cover Blackwell’s classes, and Paul Lund, who has been assistant dean, was appointed to fill Sutin’s role until a new dean can be hired.

“As horrific as this has been, I’m certain the institution will be stronger,” Ellsworth said.

/nd/tackle/after18/byline | 029

Sun, 20 Jan 2002

Law School Shootings Neither …


The Washington Post

Neither of them was from Grundy, a small, struggling town in far southwest Virginia. L. Anthony Sutin was a former Justice Department official and Harvard Law School graduate from Washington. Peter Odighizuwa, born in Nigeria, was an ex-cabbie, late of Chicago.

Both Sutin and Odighizuwa came to Grundy because of the Appalachian School of Law, a start-up school in a refurbished junior high building that was intended to bring outsiders to the depressed coal-mining area. Sutin was the school’s dean, Odighizuwa a failing student.

On Wednesday, police say, Odighizuwa shot and killed Sutin, a professor and a 33-year-old student. Three other students were injured in the rampage, which apparently began when Odighizuwa received bad academic news and ended when three students—all former police officers—subdued him. “I guess a good word to describe everyone is amazed and shocked by what they’ve seen today,” said Bill Neeley, who lives in town and works in the corporate office of Food City. “You read and you hear about things like this, but you never expect it to happen here.”

Police said that Odighizuwa had a conference with a professor about his academic standing and that as he left, he told the professor to pray for him. He then walked into the office of Sutin, who had worked for the D.C. offices of Hogan & Hartson as well as the Democratic National Committee and Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign.

Sutin was shot at close range, authorities said. Odighizuwa then shot professor Thomas F. Blackwell in another office, walked downstairs and opened fire in a lounge, police said. Student Angela Denise Dales was killed, and the three others injured, before students grabbed Odighizuwa.

School officials, who had previously celebrated the life that the law school breathed into the town, were left wondering what the impact of Thursday’s events would be.

“We’ll go forward as we have since this school started,” said Joseph E. Wolfe, vice chairman of the board. “It’s certainly going to be something that’s going to be ingrained in the history of the school.”

Marty Schottenheimer was fired as head coach of the Washington Redskins last Sunday, and the next day former University of Florida coach Steve Spurrier was named his successor.

History will judge the import of these decisions, but Redskins fans were not as patient.

“A shame,” bartender Carl Monaco said. “Schottenheimer should have been given more of a shot.”

“I really think he could have turned it around,” building engineer Maurice Colter said.

Most Redskins fans said Schottenheimer wasn’t given enough time by team owner Dan Snyder. Snyder fired his coach after barely a year on the job—a year in which the team started 0-5 but came back to finish 8-8.

“I think Marty is a fine coach,” Snyder said the night of the firing. “But it became clear that the Redskins and Marty had irreconcilable differences.”

Schottenheimer mentioned the differences, too, at a cordial news conference in which he took the “high road” when asked about the firing. Schottenheimer said the disagreement with Snyder came when Schottenheimer refused to give up control over which players would be on the team.

The new coach, known for being outspoken while at Florida, told reporters that he had grown up a Redskins fan and that he looked forward to coaching in Washington.

“They’re the best fans in the NFL,” said Spurrier of his new constituents. “It’s so loud there.”

Fans in Washington also said they looked forward to Spurrier’s arrival, as well as his high-flying “Fun ‘n’ Gun” offense, which holds the promise of producing more touchdowns than Schottenheimer’s cautious system.

“I think it’s terrible to have abandoned” Schottenheimer, said Donald Tyghe, a patron at Mister Days sports bar in Arlington. “But I like the idea of having an air offense in town.”

The governors of Maryland and Virginia were both preaching frugality, as projected budget shortfalls caused them to suggest that their states dip into “rainy day” funds, cut spending and consider changes in tax policy.

Mark R. Warner (D), elected to the high office in Richmond this fall, made his first speech to the Republican-dominated General Assembly on Monday. Warner said that state budgets would have to be cut and suggested he would support a referendum on a tax increase to pay for transportation in Northern Virginia.

“I would like to tell you that our commonwealth’s finances are sound—but everyone in this chamber knows that they are not,” said Warner, speaking from the dais in the state’s House of Delegates. He formally endorsed dipping into the state’s rainy day fund for $ 467 million.

In Annapolis, Gov. Parris N. Glendening (D) proposed his final state budget Tuesday. Glendening also proposed tapping emergency funds, and he said the state should delay a promised income tax cut.

Some in Annapolis criticized Glendening for using what they called one-time fixes. But Glendening said it was necessary to cut into the state’s savings to maintain social services.

“When the private sector is contracting, people turn to government for help,” he said. “We are the safety net.”

A four-legged, bushy-tailed intruder turned the normally staid U.S. Supreme Court building upside down.

A fox was seen scampering past the building’s security perimeter Sunday morning before it disappeared into a basement parking garage. Because foxes can carry rabies, court officials closed the building for a few hours while they looked for the animal. No luck.

Traps—humane, of course—were set to catch the animal. Fox-hunting dogs were brought in from an unnamed Virginia hunt club. One briefly picked up the animal’s scent in the basement, but then lost it.

Staffers were warned not to approach the animal, and (warily) court operations went on.

Foxes, apparently, are common in District parks, but have been seen more frequently in urban environments in recent days. Jim Monsma, of the Washington Humane Society, said the fox at the court could be a young male looking for his own territory.

“They’re real good at hiding,” Monsma said.

A D.C. slumlord, who agreed to live in one of his decrepit buildings to avoid a jail sentence, hasn’t been spending much time there after all, police said.

A D.C. police officer, assigned to make sure that Rufus Stancil really was living in the dilapidated building at 2922 Sherman Ave. NW, dropped by one morning to find that Stancil wasn’t there. Stancil admitted that he only was in the building from midnight to 5 a.m. most days.

That wasn’t good enough for District lawyers, who asked a judge to prescribe specific hours during which Stancil had to be in the building and to require him to wear an electronic monitoring device to ensure compliance. The Office of the Corporation Counsel specifically asked for Stancil to be in the building from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. weekdays, and all day on weekends except for blocks between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Stancil’s attorney insisted that “the court cannot worsen the sentence. There is a ton of case law on that.” He did, however, say that some compromise might be worked out that would require Stancil to be in the building by 10 p.m. weekdays. Stancil’s major objection was to the weekend requirements, the lawyer said.

Stancil pleaded guilty to 70 of 429 city housing code violations. His sentence also requires that he complete a renovation plan for the property.

* A Virginia laborer pleaded guilty to bank fraud Tuesday, admitting to charges that he bilked elderly people out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. According to documents filed in federal court, Larry Henderson befriended people with “diminished mental capacity” in Northern Virginia, and convinced them to pay him enormous sums—such as $ 9,000 to mow the lawn or $ 20,000 to trim the shrubs. Henderson could face 30 years in prison on the federal charges, in addition to the six-year state sentence he’s already serving for similar crimes.

* Prince George’s County settled a lawsuit with a man attacked by a county police dog in 1998. The victim, Andrew S. Amann, received more than 200 puncture wounds, though he lay down and surrendered. The officer involved, Cpl. Anthony Mileo, has a history of brutality complaints.

* Dogwood Elementary School in Reston reopened Monday, 14 months after it burned to the ground in a fire caused by faulty wiring. The school’s 550 students endured long bus rides to other schools while Dogwood was rebuilt.

– David A. Fahrenthold

/nd/tackle/after18 | 056

Blue-collar community embraces its new law school in time of crisis

Chris Kahn
The Associated Press State & Local Wire

It seemed like a risky proposition: building a law school in a small struggling coal town isolated by the rugged Appalachia Mountains.

But with area mines closing and the young moving away to find work, town officials pushed ahead, opening the Appalachian School of Law in 1997 inside an old brick school house.

“We needed this, anything that could help,” said W.H. Trivett, 77, mayor of the blue-collar town of about 1,100.

It took time for the new students - many from neighboring West Virginia - to gain acceptance in the close-knit community where many residents’ families had lived for generations.

“We had to get used to people from different cultures living here - and they had to get used to us,” said Richie Mullins, 35, who sells law school text books out of his bicycle store on Main Street.

But any lingering doubts students and faculty may have had about their neighbors’ feelings disappeared last week as the town responded after a disgruntled former student allegedly walked into the school and shot to death the dean, a professor and a student. No West Virginia residents were hurt.

In the days that followed, signs of support appeared throughout Grundy.

“ASL our thoughts and prayers are with you,” read a banner in the parking lot of Rife’s TV.

A grocery in nearby Vansant donated ham biscuits, cookies and soda pop to the Baptist church for a memorial service.

Loweda Gillespie, 61, tied yellow ribbons around store fronts, telephone poles and trees.

“We wanted to let them know we’re family,” Gillespie said.

Dean L. Anthony Sutin, 42, and Professor Tom Blackwell, 41, were slain in their offices Wednesday. Law student Angela Dales, 33, died later at the hospital. Three other students were wounded.

The gunfire sent terrified students running from the building before classmates tackled the alleged shooter. Peter Odighizuwa, 43, who had been dismissed from the school because of failing grades, is charged with three counts of capital murder, three counts of attempted capital murder and six weapons charges. The prosecutor said she will seek the death penalty.

Residents attended memorial services throughout the week, placing flowers on the school’s concrete sign as victims’ families and friends wept in small, shivering circles.

“It’s so heartwarming to see this,” school president Lucius Ellsworth said Saturday. “There’s no doubt that out of this tragedy, this community has united.”

For decades, officials wanted to build a law school in southwest Virginia to create jobs and provide a legal resource for the remote mountain area.

“In all rural areas, there is a real lack of legal education,” said Ellsworth, a former education official in Tennessee and vice chancellor of Clinch Valley College in Wise. Before the law school came to Grundy, there was no other law school within a three-hour drive.

The Appalachian School of Law now has about 200 students. Its graduates were granted special approval from Virginia and West Virginia to take their bar exams in 2000. Last year, the American Bar Association granted the school provisional accreditation.

And everyone at the school - students and faculty alike - is required to support the town with 25 hours of community service per term.

Students, many of whom are older and looking for a second career, tutor Grundy school children.

“These kids, the way they’re allowed to work with the public, I’m sure they’re getting a better education than they could in other places,” Trivett said.

Among the faculty, Blackwell was one of the most involved. His children regularly helped out at the Mountain Mission School, a local agency for orphans and children of extreme poverty. He and his wife, Lisa, sang in a church choir, and he was on a committee to find a new pastor.

“Y’all have become our family,” Lisa Blackwell said at a memorial service for her husband Friday. “We have more love here than we could possibly have asked for.”

Blackwell’s funeral was planned for Monday in Dallas, where the family lived before moving to Grundy. A memorial service for Sutin was held Sunday in the local high school.

At the law school, classes were expected to resume Tuesday. The faculty shuffled around schedules to cover Blackwell’s classes, and Paul Lund, who has been assistant dean, was appointed to fill Sutin’s role until a new dean can be hired.

“As horrific as this has been, I’m certain the institution will be stronger,” Ellsworth said.

/nd/tackle/after18/byline | 058

Sat, 19 Jan 2002

Nigerian in US Arraigned for Murder

This Day
Africa News

A Nigeria citizen in the United State, Mr. Peter Odighizuwa was Thursday in Virginia USA, arraigned with the murder of three persons and injuring others.

According to reports Thursday, said Odighizuwa, 43, had on Wednesday killed the dean, a professor and a student of a private law school in Virginia from where he was dismissed a day earlier for poor academic performance. A day following his dismissal, Odighizuwa returned to the Appalachian School of Law and met with the Dean L Anthony Sutin in an attempt to reverse his dismissal.

But when his request was not granted Odighizuwa pulled out his hand gun, killing the dean and a professor who taught him contract law, Thomas Blackwell.

He then went downstairs and opened fire on students, killing one and injuring three others. Some students tackled and handcuffed him before he could do more harm.

/nd/tackle/after18 | 062

School massacre accused ‘sick’

Chris Kahn
The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, Australia)

A FAILED law student accused of killing his dean, a law professor and another student in Richmond, Virginia, told a judge yesterday that he is sick and needs help.

Peter Odighizuwa shuffled into court in leg chains, surrounded by police officers. Hiding his face behind his arrest warrant, he told Judge Patrick Johnson: “I was supposed to see my doctor. He was supposed to help me out … I don’t have my medication.”

Odighizuwa, a 43-year-old naturalised US citizen from Nigeria, went to the Appalachian School of Law in Virginia on Thursday to talk to dean Anthony Sutin about being dismissed for failing his grades.

He shot Mr Sutin and Professor Thomas Blackwell with a .380-calibre pistol, officials said.

He then went to a common area and opened fire at students.

Students ended the rampage by confronting and then tackling the gunman, who dropped his weapon, officials said.

“He was angry. He thought he was being treated unfairly, and he wanted to see his transcript,” said Chris Clifton, the school’s financial aid officer.

“I don’t think Peter knew at this time that it [dismissal] was going to be permanent and final.”

Student Angela Dales, 33, was killed in the rampage, said State Police spokesman Mike Stater. Three others were injured and taken to hospital in fair condition.

Prosecutors charged Odighizuwa with three counts of capital murder, three counts of attempted capital murder and six charges for use of a firearm in a felony.

A few minutes before his arraignment, Odighizuwa told reporters as he was led into the courtroom: “I was sick, I was sick. I need help.”

Odighizuwa will remain in custody pending a preliminary hearing on March 21. Known around the rural campus as Peter O, he had been struggling with his grades for more than a year and had been dismissed once before.

Mr Clifton met Odighizuwa a day earlier when the student learned he was to be kicked out.

Classmates described Odighizuwa as quiet, while others called him “abrasive”.

They said he would regularly have outbursts in class when he was challenged.

/nd/tackle/after18/byline | 068

Fri, 18 Jan 2002

Uni shootings


The Advertiser

NEW YORK: A failed law student killed two professors then shot dead a student at the Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, Virginia. Three other students, also shot, are in a critical condition. Nigerian foreign exchange student Peter Odighizuma, 43, was disarmed of his .38-calibre automatic pistol by four other students.

/nd/tackle/after18 | 077

Foreign Student Kills 3 in US

This Day
Africa News

A Nigerian student angry at being dismissed stormed through the campus of the Appalachian School of Law yesterday with a handgun, killing the dean, a professor and a student and wounding three others before he was tackled by fellow students, the Virginia state police reported.

“Come get me, come get me,” the gunman was heard saying as terrorized witnesses ran for their lives, the New York Times reported

“He was a time bomb waiting to go off,” Dr. Jack Briggs, a county coroner, told news reporters about the alleged assailant, Peter Odighizuwa, 42, a student from Nigeria. The authorities said the school had told Odighizuwa on Tuesday that he was being dismissed because of failing grades. State officials said that Odighizuwa, who was charged with three counts of capital murder, had a history of mental instability and that school authorities had sought to help him.

In a running assault, the gunman confronted and fatally shot the law school dean, L. Anthony Sutin, 42, who was a senior Justice Department official in the Clinton administration. Mr. Sutin was shot in his second-floor office, as was Thomas F. Blackwell, 41, a member of the faculty.

The third person killed, Angela Denise Dales, 33, of Vansant, Va., was described as a former law school employee who was widely admired for achieving her dream of finally enrolling as a student. She was shot in the school lounge with a .380 semiautomatic pistol.

The gunfire stunned the campus and surrounding town of 1,100 residents as it delivered death to a school envisioned in the 1990’s as a pastoral outpost to answer the chronic problems of educational need in one of the more distant and impoverished parts of Appalachia. It opened five years ago in a renovated junior high school and now has 244 students and 19 faculty members.

Sutin was praised by faculty and students as a dedicated pioneer at the school, a cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School who had specialized in legislative affairs for former Attorney General Janet Reno before turning to the school as a fresh adventure. Professor Blackwell, a graduate of Duke University School of Law, was recruited to the faculty from his law practice in Dallas.

The three wounded students, hospitalized in fair to critical condition tonight, were identified as Rebecca Claire Brown, 38, of Roanoke, Va., who was shot in the abdomen; Martha Madeline Short, 37, of Grundy, who was shot in the throat; and Stacey Bean, 22, of Berea, Ky., who was shot in the chest.

“There were pools of blood all over,” Chase Goodman, a 27-year-old student, said in describing a scene punctuated with screams and gunfire.

“When I got there there were bodies laying everywhere,” said Dr. Briggs, who arrived at the first emergency alarm. Two victims suffered point-blank wounds “execution style,” one doctor at the scene said.

/nd/tackle/after18 | 079

Law Student Shoots Six, Kills Three

Vanguard
Africa News

A NIGERIAN student recently suspended by his U.S. law school went on a shooting spree on Wednesday, killing three people and wounding three more, a local coroner and physician said.

The gunman used a .38-calibre semi-automatic handgun at point-blank range to shoot the school s dean and a professor, killing both men, before opening fire on his fellow students in Grundy, Virginia, said Doctor Jack Briggs.

One student was killed, and three more were injured in the rampage at the Appalachian School of Law. One woman was in fair condition and two more were in surgery, hospital staff said. After the rampage, the gunman was tackled by four male students before being arrested, said Briggs, whose medical practice is near the school.

Virginia State Police identified the man they were holding in the shooting as Peter Odighizuwa, 43. They did not immediately release any further details or announce charges.

One victim, the school s Dean, was Anthony Sutin, a former U.S. Justice Department official who worked on the 1992 election campaign for former President Bill Clinton.

Professor Thomas Blackwell was also shot dead in his office in the small law school, located in the Appalachia mountain range, about 500 km southwest of the capital Washington.

Briggs said he knew the gunman, who had complained of stress about half-a-year ago and in hindsight had been “a time bomb ready to go off”.

The student had flunked out of the school last year and, after a second attempt, had been suspended for poor grades.

“So he took his anger out on the people he felt were responsible for him leaving the school,” the doctor said. “I had no idea it would affect him this way.”

The faculty members were “executed”, said Briggs, who described gunpowder burns on the shirt of one victim who was “obviously shot at point-blank range”.

School administrators issued a statement saying they were shocked and saddened by the shooting. Classes were canceled for the rest of the week. A memorial service was held at noon yesterday.

The three wounded students were taken to Buchanan General Hospital and later transferred to other hospitals for treatment.

All three wounded students are women, said Tim Baylor, spokesman for Wellmont health system. Two of them were in surgery and the third was in fair condition, he said.

Police said one student was shot in the abdomen and arm. A second student was shot in the throat and the third student suffered a gunshot wound to the chest.

The law school, with about 170 students enrolled, began offering classes in 1997 at a renovated junior high school about 45 miles north of Bristol.

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‘I WAS SICK,’ SAYS STUDENT


Belfast News Letter (Northern Ireland)

A LAW student who is accused of killing his college dean, a professor and another student told a judge yesterday that he is sick and needs help.

Peter Odighizuwa shuffled into Virginia’s Buchanan County Court in leg chains, surrounded by policemen. Hiding his face behind his green arrest warrant, Odighizuwa told Judge Patrick Johnson, “I was supposed to see my doctor. He was supposed to help me out. I don’t have my medication.”

Odighizuwa, a 43-year-old naturalised American from Nigeria, went to the Appalachian School of Law yesterday to talk to his dean, Anthony Sutin, about his dismissal for failing grades, officials said.

He shot Sutin and professor Thomas Blackwell, who taught him, with a pistol, authorities and students said.

He then went to a commons area and opened fire at students, killing Angela Dales, 33, and injuring three others.

Students ended the rampage by tackling him

“He was angry. He thought he was being treated unfairly, and he wanted to see his transcript,” said Chris Clifton, the school’s financial aid officer.

“I don’t think Peter knew, at this time, that his dismissal was going to be permanent and final.”

Odighizuwa said, as he was led into the courtroom, “I was sick, I was sick. I need help.”

/nd/tackle/after18 | 092

Law student: ‘I was sick’;


Bristol Evening Post

AMERICA: A law student who is accused of killing his college dean, a professor and another student told a judge in Virginia yesterday that he is sick and needs help. Peter, a 43-year-old naturalised American from Nigeria, shot his dean at the Appalachian School of Law yesterday as well as professor Thomas Blackwell, who taught him.

He then opened fire on students, killing Angela Dales, 33, and injuring three others. Students ended the rampage by tackling him.

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LAW SCHOOL EXECUTIONER TELLS COURT: ‘I NEED HELP’


Daily Record

THE law student accused of killing his dean, his professor and a classmate appeared in court yesterday, and announced: “I’m sick and I need help.”

Peter Odighizuwa shuffled into a district court in Grundy, Virginia, in leg chains, surrounded by police officers. Hiding his face behind his arrest warrant, Odighizuwa told Judge Patrick Johnson: “I was supposed to see my doctor. He was supposed to help me out. I don’t have my medication.”

As he was led in, he told reporters: “I was sick, I was sick. I need help.”

Odighizuwa had been kicked out of the Appalachian School of Law for failing exams. But the 43-year-old naturalised US citizen from Nigeria, returned on Wednesday to talk to his dean, L. Anthony Sutin.

In the office, he shot Sutin and Professor Thomas Blackwell with a .380 -calibre pistol.

He then went downstairs to a common area and opened fire. Student Angela Dales, 33, was killed in the attack. Three other students were injured.

Students ended the rampage by confronting and then tackling the gunman, who dropped his weapon.

School financial officer Chris Clifton said: “He was angry. He thought he was being treated unfairly.”

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Law school executions


The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, Australia)

NEW YORK: A failed law student executed two professors and a student at a small US university yesterday.

Three more students are in a critical condition after being shot as they ran through the corridors of the Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, Virginia.

The gunman, 43-year-old Nigerian foreign exchange student Peter Odighizuma, was eventually wrestled to the ground and disarmed of his .38 automatic pistol by four other students.

The dead included the university’s dean, Anthony Sutin, 41, who advised Bill Clinton’s 1992 Clinton presidential campaign and served under Mr Clinton in the Justice Department.

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AAGM: FOREIGN STUDENT KILLS 3 IN US

Mike Oduniyi
This Day (Nigeria): AAGM

A Nigerian student angry at being dismissed stormed through the campus of the Appalachian School of Law yesterday with a handgun, killing the dean, a professor and a student and wounding three others before he was tackled by fellow students, the Virginia state police reported.

“Come get me, come get me,” the gunman was heard saying as terrorized witnesses ran for their lives, the New York Times reported

“He was a time bomb waiting to go off,” Dr. Jack Briggs, a county coroner, told news reporters about the alleged assailant, Peter Odighizuwa, 42, a student from Nigeria. The authorities said the school had told Odighizuwa on Tuesday that he was being dismissed because of failing grades.

State officials said that Odighizuwa, who was charged with three counts of capital murder, had a history of mental instability and that school authorities had sought to help him.

In a running assault, the gunman confronted and fatally shot the law school dean, L. Anthony Sutin, 42, who was a senior Justice Department official in the Clinton administration. Mr. Sutin was shot in his second-floor office, as was Thomas F. Blackwell, 41, a member of the faculty.

The third person killed, Angela Denise Dales, 33, of Vansant, Va., was described as a former law school employee who was widely admired for achieving her dream of finally enrolling as a student. She was shot in the school lounge with a .380 semiautomatic pistol.

The gunfire stunned the campus and surrounding town of 1,100 residents as it delivered death to a school envisioned in the 1990’s as a pastoral outpost to answer the chronic problems of educational need in one of the more distant and impoverished parts of Appalachia. It opened five years ago in a renovated junior high school and now has 244 students and 19 faculty members.

Sutin was praised by faculty and students as a dedicated pioneer at the school, a cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School who had specialized in legislative affairs for former Attorney General Janet Reno before turning to the school as a fresh adventure. Professor Blackwell, a graduate of Duke University School of Law, was recruited to the faculty from his law practice in Dallas.

The three wounded students, hospitalized in fair to critical condition tonight, were identified as Rebecca Claire Brown, 38, of Roanoke, Va., who was shot in the abdomen; Martha Madeline Short, 37, of Grundy, who was shot in the throat; and Stacey Bean, 22, of Berea, Ky., who was shot in the chest.

“There were pools of blood all over,” Chase Goodman, a 27-year-old student, said in describing a scene punctuated with screams and gunfire.

“When I got there there were bodies laying everywhere,” said Dr. Briggs, who arrived at the first emergency alarm. Two victims suffered point-blank wounds “execution style,” one doctor at the scene said.

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Law school killer

Michael Beach
Herald Sun (Melbourne, Australia)

A FAILED law student executed two professors then shot dead a fellow student at a small American university yesterday.

Three more students are in a critical condition after being shot as they ran through the corridors of the Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, Virginia.

The gunman, 43-year-old Nigerian foreign exchange student Peter Odighizuma, was wrestled to the ground and disarmed of his 38-calibre automatic pistol by four other students.

The dead included the university’s dean, Anthony Sutin, 41, who advised Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign and served under Mr Clinton as a high-ranking legal counsel in the Justice Department.

Local physician Dr Jack Briggs, who had treated Odighizuma for stress, was the first doctor to arrive at the law school after the shootings.

“The scene was a disaster,” he said.

Dr Briggs said Mr Sutin and another professor had been shot at point-blank range in an apparent revenge attack.

“He had flunked out of school last year,” Dr Briggs said.

“He had been allowed an opportunity to come back and complete the semester again.

“But I believe the dean was about to tell him he was no longer going to be able to come back.”

A university spokesman said Odighizuma had been suspended from the school yesterday.

After murdering the two professors, he began shooting randomly at students. One died after being shot in the neck and back.

Three others, suffering bullet wounds to their abdomens, were flown to the closest trauma centre in Bristol, Tennessee, for emergency surgery.

The Appalachian School of Law was founded four years ago to help ease a shortage of lawyers in the southwest Virginia coal mining towns.

The killings came a day after a high school student evaded a metal detector to shoot two classmates at the Martin Luther King Jnr school in Manhattan.

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Dean Was Man Of Compassion;

Alfonso A; Castillo
Newsday (New York)

He was just 20 at the time, but even at that young age Anthony Sutin was tackling huge responsibilities.

At the Brookhaven Country Day Camp, where Sutin worked several summers in the early 1980s, the job of kitchen manager usually was reserved for older, more experienced people, but camp owner Neil Pollack knew it was in good hands with Sutin.

“He was just so organized and such a bright, bright kid,” Pollack said. “He was well liked by everyone.” Relatives and colleagues said the only thing greater than the Bellport native’s desire to achieve was his desire to give back. It was the latter that led Sutin, 42, to walk away from a job as a high-ranking attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice to serve as a dean at a small, upstart Virginia law school.

In the end, one of the people who had most benefited from Sutin’s compassion was the one who Virginia police said ended his life.

Police said Peter Odighizuwa, 42, stormed into Sutin’s office at Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, Va., Wednesday and shot him once with a .380-caliber pistol. He then shot and killed another professor and a student and wounded three others before being restrained by students, according to police. Odighizuwa faces three counts of capital murder and related weapons charges.

The student was upset over news that he was being kicked out of school, police said. Just one year earlier, Odighizuwa had flunked out of school, but Sutin was there to open the door for him to return.

“That’s typical of him,” said Pollack.

Yesterday, Bellport residents remembered Sutin’s years as a starry-eyed overachiever. During his years as a student at Bellport High School, Sutin worked on several environmental causes as a member of the school’s Students for Environmental Quality and lobbied to enact New York’s bottle deposit program.

“He was clearly going to go some place,” said Arthur Cooley, a board member of the Manhattan-based Environmental Defense Fund and Sutin’s former high school biology teacher.

After graduating with honors as the school’s valedictorian in 1977, Sutin attended Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass. He graduated in 1981 with a bachelor’s degree in policy and economics and then enrolled in Harvard Law School, where he graduated in 1984.

After law school, Sutin clerked in a U.S. District Court in Dallas, then joined the Washington, D.C., law firm of Hogan & Hartson. Sutin’s passion for politics led him to work on Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign and ultimately landed him a job in the U.S. Justice Department in 1994.

Sutin rose through the ranks over the next four years, eventually becoming assistant attorney general for legislative affairs in 1998.

Friends said Sutin had close ties with top-ranking officials in the Clinton administration and was all but guaranteed a long and lucrative career as a Washington player, but he walked away from it all when the opportunity to help establish a law school in a small and desolate Virginia community arose.

“He could have been anything. He was so tied in,” said former neighbor and close friend Rachel Alberts of Grundy, Va. “But he really felt that everyone … had an obligation to take care of the community.”

Sutin’s mother, Bonita Sutin of Bellport, said her son’s compassion extended into his personal life. He and his wife, Margaret Lawton, who also taught at the school, adopted their son, Henry Alexander, 4, from Russia several years ago, and just two weeks ago traveled to Russia to adopt a daughter, Clara Li Bessyes.

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Slain Dean Known For His Compassion

Alfonso A; Castillo
Newsday (New York)

He was just 20 at the time, but even at that young age Anthony Sutin was tackling huge responsibilities.

At the Brookhaven Country Day Camp, where Sutin worked several summers in the early 1980s, the job of kitchen manager usually was reserved for older, more experienced people, but camp owner Neil Pollack knew it was in good hands with Sutin.

“He was just so organized and such a bright, bright kid,” Pollack said. Relatives and colleagues said the only thing greater than the Bellport native’s desire to achieve was his desire to give back. It was the latter that led Sutin, 42, to walk away from a job as a high-ranking attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice to serve as a dean at a small, upstart Virginia law school. In the end, one of the people who had most benefited from Sutin’s compassion was the one who Virginia police said ended his life.

Police said Peter Odighizuwa, 42, stormed into Sutin’s office at Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, Va., Wednesday and shot him once with a .380-caliber pistol. He then shot and killed another professor and a student and wounded three others before being restrained by students, according to police. Odighizuwa faces three counts of capital murder and related weapons charges.

The student was upset over news that he was being kicked out of school, police said. Just one year earlier, Odighizuwa had flunked out of school, but Sutin was there to open the door for him to return.

“That’s typical of him,” said Pollack.

Yesterday, Bellport residents remembered Sutin’s years as a starry-eyed overachiever. During his years as a student at Bellport High School, Sutin worked on several environmental causes as a member of the school’s Students for Environmental Quality and lobbied to enact New York’s bottle deposit program.

After graduating with honors as the school’s valedictorian in 1977, Sutin attended Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass. He graduated in 1981 with a bachelor’s degree in policy and economics and then enrolled in Harvard Law School, where he graduated in 1984.

After law school, Sutin clerked in a U.S. District Court in Dallas, then joined the Washington, D.C., law firm of Hogan & Hartson. Sutin worked on Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign and landed a job in the U.S. Justice Department in 1994. He became assistant attorney general for legislative affairs in 1998.

“He could have been anything. He was so tied in,” former neighbor and close friend Rachel Alberts said of Sutin and his decision to leave the U.S. Justice Department for the school. “But he really felt that everyone … had an obligation to take care of the community.”

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‘I WAS SICK,’ SAYS STUDENT


Newsletter

A LAW student who is accused of killing his college dean, a professor and another student told a judge yesterday that he is sick and needs help.

Peter Odighizuwa shuffled into Virginia’s Buchanan County Court in leg chains, surrounded by policemen.

Hiding his face behind his green arrest warrant, Odighizuwa told Judge Patrick Johnson, “I was supposed to see my doctor. He was supposed to help me out. I don’t have my medication.”

Odighizuwa, a 43-year-old naturalised American from Nigeria, went to the Appalachian School of Law yesterday to talk to his dean, Anthony Sutin, about his dismissal for failing grades, officials said.

He shot Sutin and professor Thomas Blackwell, who taught him, with a pistol, authorities and students said.

He then went to a commons area and opened fire at students, killing Angela Dales, 33, and injuring three others.

Students ended the rampage by tackling him

“He was angry. He thought he was being treated unfairly, and he wanted to see his transcript,” said Chris Clifton, the school’s financial aid officer.

“I don’t think Peter knew, at this time, that his dismissal was going to be permanent and final.”

Odighizuwa said, as he was led into the courtroom, “I was sick, I was sick. I need help.”

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Law dean’s death shocks friends

Brian Hicks
The Post and Courier (Charleston, SC)

The Lowcountry friends and family of a Virginia law school dean gunned down by a student say they are shocked by the death of a man who did nothing his entire life but help people, including the man who killed him.

Anthony Sutin had given Peter Odighizuwa a second chance when the man flunked out of the Appalachian School of Law in rural Grundy, Va., something a lot of deans would not have done, his students and colleagues say.

But when Sutin would not let Odighizuwa re-enroll a third time, police say the man shot Sutin in his office Wednesday afternoon, then killed another member of the law school faculty and a student and injured three students before he was wrestled to the ground by other students and arrested.

It was a sad end to the life of Sutin, the son-in-law of Allendale attorney Thomas O. Lawton—a former law partner of Gov. Robert E. McNair and chairman of the South Carolina Tricentennial Commission.

Sutin, 42, was a humble man who had accomplished much, his family said, and still had much more to do.

“Until something like this happens, you don’t realize how precious life is,” said Angus Lawton, a Charles-ton attorney and Sutin’s brother-in-law. “Our family is saddened by this tragedy, and we will miss Tony greatly. We appreciate the thoughts and prayers of our friends, and we wish the very best for the Appalachian School of Law.”

Nine years ago, Margaret Lawton of Allendale married Sutin, a soft-spoken man from Long Island, N.Y., who loved country music and was so modest he didn’t like to mention he was a graduate of Harvard Law School.

At the time, Sutin was a Washington, D.C., attorney who became acting assistant attorney general under Janet Reno.

The family lived in Alexandria, Va., until Sutin decided to help out with a fledgling law school nestled in the Appalachian Mountains.

Sutin started as a professor but soon was made dean of the Appalachian School of Law, a small school in the economically depressed town of Grundy, 45 miles north of Bristol, near the Kentucky and West Virginia borders.

Sutin loved the small-town feel. In an April interview with the Roanoke Times, Sutin said he loved the old-fashioned qualities of life in Grundy, knowing all your neighbors and being able to leave your doors unlocked.

He felt it was a good place to raise his growing family. Sutin and Lawton had adopted two children, the second one only a month ago—a 14-month-old baby from China.

Sutin’s murder brought reaction from across the country. Attorney General John Ashcroft called him a “dedicated public servant.” Paul Dull, a former student of Sutin’s, told the Roanoke Times that “The legal community has lost a great individual. Dean Sutin was one of those guys you aspired to be. He thought being a lawyer was a commendable profession.”

The local connection to the national news story had trickled into Charleston by early Thursday, and some of the friends of the family made plans to travel to Virginia for memorial services this weekend.

“The Lawton family has a lot of friends in Charleston that are shocked and saddened by this,” said Joseph H. McGee, a friend of the family.

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‘I was sick, I need help,’ accused killer maintains in court

Associated Press
The Record (Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario)

A former law student accused of killing his dean, a law professor and another student told a judge as well as bystanders yesterday that he is sick and needs help.

Peter Odighizuwa shuffled into Buchanan County general district court in leg chains, surrounded by police officers.

Hiding his face behind his green arrest warrant, Odighizuwa told Judge Patrick Johnson: “I was supposed to see my doctor. He was supposed to help me out . . . I don’t have my medication.”

Odighizuwa called out to reporters as he was led into the courtroom: “I was sick, I was sick. I need help.”

Odighizuwa, a 43-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen from Nigeria, went to the Appalachian School of Law on Wednesday to talk to his dean, L. Anthony Sutin, about Odighizuwa’s dismissal for failing grades, officials said. He allegedly shot Sutin and Prof. Thomas Blackwell, who taught Odighizuwa during the fall and winter.

Also killed with a shot from a .380-calibre pistol was student Angela Dales, 33, said Virginia State Police spokesman Mike Stater. Three others are in hospital in fair condition.

Prosecutors charged Odighizuwa with three counts of capital murder, three counts of attempted capital murder and six charges of using a firearm in a felony.

When Johnson said he would appoint lawyer James Turk to represent him, Odighizuwa asked for another lawyer, who he named. But Johnson appointed Turk and said, “Once you’ve talked with him, I’m sure you’ll see he can help you.”

Odighizuwa will remain held without bond pending a preliminary hearing March 21.

Students ended the rampage by confronting and then tackling the gunman, officials said.

“He was angry; he thought he was being treated unfairly, and he wanted to see his transcript,” said Chris Clifton, the school’s financial aid officer.

“I don’t think Peter knew at this time that it (dismissal) was going to be permanent and final,” Clifton added.

The suspect, known around the rural campus as “Peter O,” had been struggling with his grades for more than a year and had been dismissed once before. Clifton met with Odighizuwa a day earlier when the student learned he was to be kicked out of school.

Dr. Jack Briggs, who has a private practice about a kilometre from the school, said Odighizuwa went downstairs from Sutin’s and Blackwell’s offices to a commons area and opened fire.

“When I got there, there were bodies laying everywhere,” Briggs said.

Odighizuwa left the building and dropped his gun after being confronted. Students then tackled him and one who is a sheriff’s deputy handcuffed him.

Odighizuwa kept saying, “I have nowhere to go,” said student Todd Ross, 30, of Johnson City, Tenn.

Justin Marlowe, a first-year law student from Richwood, W.Va., said the suspect had been in all of his classes.

“He was a real quiet guy who kept to himself. He didn’t talk to anybody, but he gave no indication that he was capable of something like this.”

Other classmates, however, described the suspect as an “abrasive” person who would regularly have outbursts in class when he was challenged by classmates or the professor.

“I knew he’d do something like this,” said Zeke Jackson, 40.

The private law school has an enrolment of about 170 students. It opened five years ago in a renovated junior high school to help ease a shortage of lawyers in the region and foster renewal in Appalachia.

Sutin, a 1984 graduate of Harvard Law School, also was an associate professor at the school.

He left the U.S. Justice Department to help found the school, and had worked for the Democratic National Committee and Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign, according to the Web site of Jurist, the Legal Education Network.

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SHOOTINGS SUSPECT PRONE TO OUTBURSTS

Chris Kahn
The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

The expelled law school student accused of killing his dean and two others in a campus shooting spree was so paranoid and prone to outbursts that at least one classmate said he saw the violence coming.

At Thursday’s arraignment on three counts of capital murder, Peter Odighizuwa, 43, told the judge he was sick and needed help.

“I was supposed to see my doctor,” Odighizuwa said, hiding his face behind a green arrest warrant. “He was supposed to help me out . . . I don’t have my medication. ” Police say Odighizuwa opened fire with a handgun at the Appalachian School of Law on Wednesday, a day after he was dismissed from the school for a second time.

Dean L. Anthony Sutin and Professor Thomas Blackwell were slain in their offices and student Angela Dales, 33, died later at a hospital.

Three other students were wounded.

Prosecutor Sheila Tolliver said she will seek the death penalty.

Odighizuwa also faces three counts of attempted capital murder and six weapons charges. A few minutes before his arraignment, Odighizuwa told reporters as he was led into the courtroom, “I was sick, I was sick. I need help. ” Police said Odighizuwa was evaluated and given medication in jail, but declined to identify the drug.

On Thursday, students wept in small, shivering circles, many of them wondering about the classmate who always seemed aloof and was prone to vulgar outbursts.

Kenneth Brown, 28, said his friends always joked that Odighizuwa was one of those guys who would finally crack and bring a gun to school.

“He was kind of off-balance,” Brown said. “When we met last year, he actually came up and shook my hand and asked my name. Then, like five minutes later he came back and said: ‘You know I’m not crazy, but people tick me off sometimes.¬ Out of the blue. ” Zeke Jackson, 40, said he stopped trying to recruit Odighizuwa for the school’s Black Law Students¬ Association after Odighizuwa sent the dean a letter complaining that Jackson was harassing him.

“I knew he’d do something like this,” Jackson said.

Odighizuwa was arrested on Aug. 15 for allegedly assaulting his wife. The police report said he hit her in the face, bruising her right eye.

Police said Odighizuwa repeatedly approached them with concerns about people breaking into his house on the outskirts of this small town in western Virginia.

Chief Deputy Randall Ashby said Odighizuwa told police last year that someone placed a bullet in a stairway at his home. Three months ago, he complained again that his home had been broken into.

“Both times my deputies checked it out and found nothing,” Ashby said.

Odighizuwa also regularly visited the sheriff’s office to nitpick with deputies over the wording of the police reports he’d filed, Ashby said.

Despite Odighizuwa’s problems, the dean and others tried to help him through school. Last year, Sutin raised enough money to buy Odighizuwa a used car, clothes, and food, according to students and staff.

Chris Clifton, the school’s financial aid officer, said Sutin also helped get Odighizuwa a $19,000 loan last fall.

“That’s what doesn’t make sense,” said Mary Kilpatrick, a third-year student, wondering aloud why Odighizuwa would kill the dean. “He’s the one who allowed him to stay here. ” Odighizuwa, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Nigeria, had been struggling in school for more than a year and had been dismissed before.

His grades were poor again last semester, and school officials told Odighizuwa on Tuesday that they were flunking him.

“I don’t think Peter knew at this time that it was going to be permanent and final,” said Clifton, the financial aid officer. “He slung his chair across the room and slammed the door. ” The next day, after the rampage, witnesses say Odighizuwa left the building, dropped a gun, and was tackled by several students.

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GRIEF FLOWS FROM GRUNDY AS IT MOURNS FOR VICTIMS

Paul Dellinger
Roanoke Times & World News (Roanoke, VA)

Hundreds of people turned out Thursday to honor three people killed a day earlier in a shooting spree at the Appalachian School of Law.

Tragedies at Columbine High School, Oklahoma City and the World Trade Center seemed far from this coalfield community, said the Rev. Stan Parris. “But now we, too, have tasted violence. . . . This is a terrible reminder of the reality of evil that exists in the human heart.”

The sanctuary and balcony of Grundy Baptist Church overflowed with faculty and students from the 5-year-old law school and friends and family of the three shooting victims: Anthony Sutin, 41, the school’s dean; Thomas Blackwell, 41, a professor; and Angela Dales, 33, who worked at the school before becoming a student.

Peter Odighizuwa, 42, a student who recently learned he would be dismissed because of insufficient grades, is charged with capital murder in all three deaths.

Three other students were injured and taken to two hospitals in Tennessee. Dr. Dale Sargent said Rebecca Brown, Martha Madeline Short and Stacey Beans were all in fair condition Thursday afternoon. “We would expect each of these patients to be released from the hospital within a week, and all are expected to make a full recovery,” he said.

Mikael Gross, one of several students who tackled Odighizuwa and held him for authorities Wednesday afternoon, said after the memorial service that Dales was his admissions counselor when he entered the school three years ago. Dales was in her first year of law school.

“It just doesn’t make any sense,” Mary Kilpatrick, a third-year student, said after the service. Kilpatrick said people at the school had obtained a car for Odighizuwa and helped him in other ways.

“Dean Sutin was one of the ones that was involved in that,” she said. “Everyone in this community, I feel like, has gone above and beyond to help him.”

Grundy Town Manager Chuck Crabtree said Gov. Mark Warner had wanted to attend the service, but scheduling did not allow it. Warner, who served on the law school’s board, sent a statement, in which he said the best memorial to the victims would be continued support of the school.

Warner said Sutin was at the height of his career in the U.S. Justice Department when he embraced the concept of a law school in Virginia’s coalfields and came to Buchanan County to help make it happen. Warner said he considered Blackwell a friend and remembered hiking with him and his family at Breaks Interstate Park.

Warner said he saluted the students who took control of “this barbaric situation.”

The memorial service was organized by the Buchanan County Ministerial Association.

The Rev. Paul McNalley opened the service with a prayer to “protect us all from the violence of others and keep us safe from the weapons of hate.” Rabbi Stanley Funston urged the community to keep its faith “in the face of senseless tragedy.”

Thursday night, about 250 people from the law school and the town attended a candlelight vigil in front of the school.

One speaker, professor Stewart Harris, said, “We are standing tonight on sacred ground. Innocent blood was shed here, blood of three people who achieved, who cared and who dreamed. . . . Let us honor them by keeping our own dreams alive.”

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Va. Town, Law School Linked in Mourning; Grundy Residents Pay Tribute to 3 Killed in Shootings

Maria Glod and Fredrick Kunkle
The Washington Post

Thomas F. Blackwell was a hard-charging corporate lawyer known for a methodical and creative approach to his cases. But here in this tiny mountain town, he was known for singing duets with his wife in the Buchanan First Presbyterian Choir and for his fiery homemade chili at his son’s Boy Scout gatherings.

Grundy remembered Blackwell today, along with L. Anthony Sutin and Angela Denise Dales, who were all fatally shot Wednesday at the Appalachian School of Law. At memorial services and candlelight vigils and gatherings over coffee, this much became clear: Longtime residents of this old, struggling, coal-mining town and their new educated, legal-minded, high-profile neighbors at the law school are forever linked. When community leaders founded the law school in 1997 to revitalize the region, many people in Grundy were skeptical that the two cultures would mesh. Now people can’t imagine the town without the school. “When it was first announced the school was coming, there were a lot of naysayers. Now I don’t think there is a naysayer left,” said Michael Hunt, a paralegal who has been accepted into Appalachian’s fall class.

Ginger Robertson, who works at Jackson Hardware and knew Sutin and Blackwell because their wives are members of the Grundy Women’s Club, will tell you how the school opens its doors to the arts community and the women’s club when they need space for meetings and other functions. Grundy’s town manager talks about the student who helped out by researching zoning laws. County social services officials applaud the students who tutor at the teen center.

“These were super people who found a little niche in the world and decided they were going to make it better,” said Jim Wayne Childress, a graduate and former schoolteacher who now practices law.

As Grundy mourned the dead, the student arrested in the killings appeared at a hearing in the Buchanan County courthouse, just down the street from the college. Peter Odighizuwa yelled to reporters as he walked across the outdoor catwalk connecting the jail and the courthouse: “I was sick. I was sick. I need help.”

Police say Odighizuwa, who was suspended Wednesday over his grades, went to the school’s second-floor offices to discuss his academic standing with professor Dale Rubin. When the conversation ended about 1:15 p.m., Odighizuwa told Rubin to pray for him, walked down the hall to Dean Sutin’s office and opened fire at close range with a semiautomatic handgun, killing Sutin, 42, a former top Justice Department official in the Clinton administration, police said.

The attacker then fatally shot Blackwell, a professor, in his office before walking downstairs to a lounge, where he opened fire again, killing Dales, a 33-year-old student, and injuring three other students, police said. Three students pounced on the gunman and held him until help arrived.

The shooting deaths caused the town to reflect on the five-year-old law school and people like Blackwell and Sutin, who gave up lucrative careers to come to this town on the West Virginia and Kentucky borders to try something new.

So Rife’s TV put a new message on the billboard outside the Main Street store: “ASL our thoughts and prayers are with you.”

Ellen Cook and Loweda Gillespie, who work at a supermarket, drove around town hanging about 40 yellow ribbons from telephone poles and light posts.

And hundreds of family members, friends and neighbors gathered in the Baptist church next to the college for a service honoring the dean, professor and student.

Several noted without irony that Sutin helped the accused killer get on his feet by securing a $ 19,000 student loan for him and raising enough money for a car, some food and clothes.

It was exactly that kind of spirit the school’s founders envisioned when they recruited Sutin and Blackwell to Grundy.

Sutin enjoyed the easy pace of life in a small town, said Lucius “Lu” F. Ellsworth, the school’s president. Sutin also liked the idea of building up a new school, especially one whose guiding principles included service to the community, Ellsworth said.

Faculty members and students alike are required to put in 25 hours of community service per term. The students have participated in 65 social programs, including programs for the elderly, conflict resolution and a humane society for animals.

Sutin and his wife, also a professor at the school, volunteered for a community arts council that brought dance, music and other cultural events to the region.

“I think he enjoyed being part of a smaller community,” Ellsworth said. “I think he liked developing an institution from the ground up.”

Students are former paralegals, insurance agents and taxi drivers. Tracy Bridges and Mikael Gross, two students who are also former police officers, helped subdue Odighizuwa until sheriff’s deputies arrived. “I thought it was a gunshot, but I wasn’t sure until students started running out yelling, ‘Peter’s got a gun,’ ” Gross said. The students then tackled the gunman.

Odighizuwa was arraigned today on three counts of capital murder, three counts of attempted murder and six firearms charges. Odighizuwa, who shuffled into court in leg shackles and covered his face with court papers, told District Judge Patrick Johnson he needs medical attention. “I was supposed to see my doctor,” Odighizuwa said. “He was supposed to help me out. I don’t have my medication.”

Johnson told sheriff’s deputies to see that Odighizuwa is given any medication he needs and appointed Radford lawyer James C. Turk Jr. to handle the case.

Odighizuwa also has a pending assault charge in connection with an incident last summer in which he allegedly punched his wife. The case was set to be dismissed in August.

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Faculty here remember law prof slain in Va.

Adam W Lasker
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

A former visiting professor at the Chicago-Kent School of Law was among three people who were shot to death at a Virginia law school.

Thomas F. Blackwell, who had taught legal research and writing here for two years, was slain Wednesday along with the dean of the Appalachian School of Law and one of its students. A former student is accused of going on a shooting rampage that also left three students wounded. “He was a talented teacher and scholar and was respected by both our faculty and our students,” said Harold J. Krent, Chicago-Kent’s interim dean. “His death is a tragic loss to the legal community and to his many friends and colleagues.”

Blackwell, the father of three children, moved to Virginia and joined the law school’s faculty in 1999.

He was in the top 10 percent of his graduating class at Duke University School of Law in 1986, the same year he received a master’s degree in philosophy from that university.

Peter Odighizuwa, 43, went to the law school, located in Grundy, Va., to talk to the dean, L. Anthony Sutin, about his recent dismissal for failing grades. Officials and students said he then used a .380-caliber pistol to shoot and kill Sutin, Blackwell and student Angela Dales, 33, said Virginia State Police spokesman Mike Stater.

“They were irreplaceable, whether you see them as teachers or father figures or friends,” William Sievers, president of the school’s Student Bar Association, said Thursday outside the school during a candlelight remembrance gathering of about a hundred people.

“It’s going to be tough going back to school,” he said.

Three other students were injured and were hospitalized in fair condition, Stater said.

Krent said Blackwell also taught corporate finance, copyright law and law office technology during his time in Chicago, which lasted from August 1997 to May 1999.

Associate Professor Mary Rose Strubbe, who is now the director of Chicago-Kent’s research and writing program, said she worked closely with Blackwell in Chicago helping first-year students prepare oral arguments and working with second- and third-year students in the school’s moot court society.

“He loved teaching. He was a good teacher and had tremendous respect for the students,” Strubbe said. “He would spend an immense amount of time with students who needed help or had questions or just wanted to come and talk.”

Strubbe and Blackwell had kept in touch since he left Chicago, and they saw each other several times about two weeks ago in Texas at a meeting of the Association of American Law Schools. At that event, Strubbe said, they had time for a fairly long conversation during a luncheon for the Association of Legal Writing Directors.

“He was leaving the conference early … to hook up with his wife and kids, who were on the way back from spending the holidays in Texas,” Strubbe said. “He was very full of enthusiasm for teaching, research and writing, the Appalachian school and his family, and how well they were enjoying living and going to school in the area.”

Ralph Brill, a Chicago-Kent professor who was director of the school’s research and writing program for 14 years, said Blackwell was a skilled legal writer who could have taught at any law school.

“He passed up many opportunities to use his immense talents at more prestigious places to go to Appalachian and make it a place for poor people to gain entrance into the profession,” Brill said. “He worked very hard, undertook far too many projects, but somehow completed them on time and highly competently.”

Sutin, the Virginia law school’s dean, was a 1984 Harvard Law School graduate and also was an associate professor at the school, which has an enrollment of about 170 students. He left the Justice Department five years ago to help found the school, which is housed in a renovated junior high school.

Sutin had worked for the Democratic National Committee and former president Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign. Sutin had said he helped develop the law school to ease the shortage of lawyers in the region and to help foster renewal in Appalachia.

Odighizuwa, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Nigeria, appeared Thursday in Buchanan County General District Court for an arraignment hearing, during which he told Judge Patrick Johnson that he is sick and needs help.

“I was supposed to see my doctor. He was supposed to help me out … I don’t have my medication,” Odighizuwa told the judge.

Prosecutors charged Odighizuwa with three counts of capital murder, three counts of attempted capital murder and six charges of using a firearm in a felony. Odighizuwa, who was arrested on Aug. 15 for allegedly assaulting his wife, will be held without bond pending a preliminary hearing on March 21.

Chris Clifton, the school’s financial aid officer, said Odighizuwa was recently dismissed permanently from the school because of his poor grades. Clifton met with the student the day before the shooting, and said Odighizuwa had been struggling with his grades for more than a year and had been dismissed once before.

“He was angry. He thought he was being treated unfairly and he wanted to see his transcript,” Clifton said. “I don’t think Peter knew at this time that the dismissal was going to be permanent and final.”

Jack Briggs, a doctor with a private practice a half-mile from the school, said that after Odighizuwa shot Sutin and Blackwell in their offices, he went downstairs to a commons area and opened fire on students.

“When I got there, there were bodies laying everywhere,” Briggs said.

Odighizuwa left the building and dropped his gun after being confronted by students, who then tackled him to the ground. One student who is a sheriff’s deputy handcuffed the gunman until police arrived and took him into custody.

Grundy, a gritty coal town of about 1,100 in the shadow of two great mountain ridges, has long been isolated from violent crime, the Rev. Stan Parris said Thursday afternoon at a memorial at the Grundy Baptist Church. He asked the crowd of a few hundred to pray and reassured them that “God will bring justice.”—The Associated Press contributed

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