A Baltimore Circuit Court judge ruled Monday that a lawsuit can go forward against Morgan State University that contends the school failed to protect Joshua Ceasar, who was brutally beaten last year by an electrical engineering student who previously showed signs of violence and mental instability.
The student, Alexander Kinyua, 22, was later accused of murder and cannibalism in the death of a family friend.
Judge Videtta A. Brown found that there was potential for "foreseeability" on the part of the school that "something bad was going to happen," said Steven D. Silverman, Caesar's attorney.
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Morgan State University
"Obviously, you can't have foreseeability that there would be a murder involving cannibalism," he said, "But certainly when you look at the totality of the events, the totality of the actions and bizarre behaviors of Kinyua over the six months preceding the attack on Josh, there was foreseeability that something bad was going to happen."
Morgan, represented by Maryland Assistant Attorney General Corlie McCormick Jr., filed a motion to dismiss the case in May, arguing that Ceasar, 23, failed to show that the school was negligent and to "demonstrate the University breached a duty owed him."
The attorney general's office does not, as a general rule, comment on pending cases, spokesman David Paulson said.
Kinyua pleaded guilty in December to beating Ceasar with a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire, blinding him in one eye. Circuit Judge Gale E. Rasin found him not criminally responsible, however, because he "was suffering from a mental illness at the time of the offense," specifically paranoid schizophrenia.
According to Ceasar's lawsuit, Kinyua was prone to violent outbursts at Morgan events, had wielded a machete on campus and left various satanic rants on social media sites.
"Mr. Kinyua's attack of Plaintiff Ceasar was not the first warning sign to Morgan State that Mr. Kinyua was violent, suffering from severe mental health issues and posed a threat," the lawsuit states. "Despite the warning signs, Morgan State failed to act to protect students and visitors on campus."
The lawsuit seeks $75,000 on each of three counts.
A separate criminal case in Harford County charges Kinyua with murder, claiming he killed and dismembered family friend Kujoe Bonsafo Agyei-Kodie and then ate some of the man's organs, about a month after attacking Ceasar.