A suspect was arrested on Monday, Feb. 26, after a Maine college student was stabbed to death in the reading room of a local library.
Deane “Kenny” Stryker was a first-year student at the College of Osteopathic Medicine in Biddeford.
She was attacked on Saturday at the public library in Winchester.
Officials said Jeffrey Yao, 23, approached Stryker, 22, from behind and stabbed her in the head and upper torso with a 10-inch long hunting knife.
Yao also stabbed a 77-year-old man in the arm before being restrained by other library patrons, reported the Portland Press-Herald.
Other patrons, including the man, tried to help Stryker after she was stabbed, but she ultimately died from the wounds.
Yao pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and armed assault with intent to murder at his arraignment in Woburn District Court, reported CBS.
The judge ordered Yao held without bail.
His attorney J.W. Carney said that Yao did not know Stryker despite them both being graduates of Winchester High School. Carney said Yao has a history of mental illness.
“It’s every parent’s nightmare for both sets of parents,” Carney said, adding that Yao should be in a psychiatric hospital for the rest of his life.
Yao is due back in court on April 11.
Neighbors told the Boston Herald that Yao’s behavior had become increasingly erratic and one warned authorities Yao was going to kill somebody.
“We warned them. We warned them. I can’t believe this,” a neighbor said. “This whole thing could have been avoided. All of it.” The neighbor asked not to be identified out of fear of retribution.
Stryker’s family and friends mourned the loss, recalling her as a young woman committed to helping people as she trained to become a physician.
“A first-year student in the UNE College of Osteopathic Medicine, Deane was just beginning her journey toward becoming a physician, and showed great promise as a student doctor who was passionate about medicine and helping others,” said James Herbert, president of the University of New England, in a statement.
“She was an advocate for domestic violence and mental health awareness, and an active member of the . . . college community,” he continued. “She served as an orientation leader, and was part of a student organization that provides confidential peer support to other students who need a place to turn when they are struggling.”
Gerry Skinder, a retired Winchester High English teacher, told the Globe that he remained friends with Stryker after she took his course, reported the Boston Globe.
Stryker showed “the wisdom, depth of character that allows people to see others as whole human beings, beyond what their role might be,” said Skinder.