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Junior Dies in Fall from BU Law Library

By Kathy Shim
and Deena Disraelly

Staff Reporters

Festus M. Moore '94 was found dead outside the Boston University School of Law Friday night in what BU police call an apparent suicide. Police believe he jumped from the 15th floor. No note or explanation has been found.

The body of the 19-year-old Spanish House resident was discovered at 11:55 p.m. by a building custodian who had gone outside to warm up his car, according to BU Police Chief Steven Devlin. "At that point he heard a loud crash. When he turned around, he saw the deceased on the ground," Devlin said.

"He did not know at that point how the deceased had gotten there. He thought that it might be someone who was drunk or had a car accident," Devlin said.

The custodian called the police, and both BU and Boston police responded. Officers found Moore lying on his back, bleeding from the back of his head. He was "unconscious and unresponsive" and suffered from head injuries and two fractured legs, according to Boston police department records.

Moore was wearing jeans, brown boots, and a red and blue ski jacket, the Boston police log states.

BU Police Sgt. Jack McCune "could find no vital signs in the body," said Devlin. Moore was taken to Beth Israel hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival from multiple trauma injuries at 12:25 a.m. Saturday.

Events point to suicide

Since the "legs of the deceased were disconfigured, we looked up and saw that the window on the 15th floor facing the river on the north side of the library was open," Devlin said. Moore is believed to have jumped from this window, Devlin said.

In the 15th floor room, BU police found "a bag with paperback books in it but no note," Devlin said. "The books were of the general variety -- drugstore novels, not textbooks," Devlin added. A paper with doodles was also found among Moore's belongings.

No one witnessed Moore's fall, Boston police said. Moore entered the library alone and was spotted in the law building by a custodian about one or two hours before the fall, Devlin said. "He looked normal, and he was not entering at a time that was suspicious," Devlin said.

The classroom Moore entered was usually left open for students to use for group study, Devlin said.

"It was a narrow, difficult to open window. The wind-chill factor was 15 below zero that night. ... He apparently had to climb over some desks and chairs to get to the window. ... I gathered that there was some furniture in the way," MIT Associate Dean for Student Affairs Robert M. Randolph said.

Institute copes with loss

Moore, whose friends called him Fes-Mike, lived in Spanish House. Tutors there have been holding meetings with students and friends of Moore since noon on Saturday.

"What we are really trying to do is to let students talk it out with people that they know; we're trying to be as personable as possible," Randolph said.

"We had an open house today and gave out information on counseling. To be honest with you we had a small turnout. But people who wanted to come to talk about it could, and I'm not terribly disappointed. Each individual is trying to handle this. It is a shock, " said Professor of Mechanical Engineering Derek Rowell, the housemaster of New House.

Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Tomas Lozano-Perez '74, Moore's academic adviser, described him as "extremely quiet. ... I registered him for three terms, and I didn't think he has said very much while I saw him. ... He was not particularly outgoing, at least with me. Some students are outgoing, some are not."

Others described Moore differently. He was "well known and well liked," said Rowell. "We are all dismayed by this personal tragedy. I am amazed about the number of people that he knew. He was very outgoing and will be sorely missed. He was involved in a lot of different activities. He played hockey, managed the volleyball team, and worked at [On-Line Consulting]. A lot of people knew him."

"He was a really great guy," said Marybeth Kossuth '94. "He was the kind of guy that everyone was friends with. We're all still kind of in shock. ... We all knew that he wasn't doing well, and he wasn't happy all of the time. But we had no indication that he was suicidal."

Moore received a warning from the Committee on Academic Performance earlier in the week, Randolph said. But Randolph emphasized that there was "no correlation" between the CAP warning and Moore's apparent suicide.

"There is no indication that this is the cause. People can draw conclusions as they may," Randolph said.

"He did fail a class -- out of that came the CAP warning. He had also recently changed from 6-1 to 6-3 which was another reason why I assumed that he was not coming by," said Lozano-Perez. "I tried to call him at the end of the term, and I figured that he had left over Independent Activities Period, which again is not unusual."

Moore did not register for the spring term.

"He hadn't registered this term. I have not seen him for a while," Lozano-Perez said. "This is not uncommon. He was not the only student in my group to not come by. The news [of his death] came as a real shock to me."

Moore registered late last spring due to financial difficulties, Randolph said.

"He was a young man who worked hard here. He had a job to put himself through MIT. The difficulties he had were last year. Things seem to have been worked out in September," Randolph said.

"The people of Spanish House feel that the reasons for why this happened are not clear, and now is not the time for speculation," said Angel R. Martinez '95.

Friends doubt suicide

Friends expressed disbelief on hearing of Moore's death. New House President Hung-Chou Tai '94 said, "Nobody knew if he wanted to commit suicide. His friends think a strong gust of wind came and he lost his balance. ... Every time I saw him he was quite cheerful. He was never depressed. It all came as a shock."

The news of Moore's death "came as a shock... because a few years back there was a suicide at MacGregor. Fes-Mike and my other roommate were talking about it, and Fes-Mike said it was kind of stupid. If they were to ask me to pick someone who was least likely to do it, it would have been Fes-Mike," said Mario A. Salinas '94, Moore's freshman roommate

A memorial service to be arranged by students and Assistant Professor of Physical Education Leo Osgood will be held in the coming weeks, Rowell said. Osgood, a basketball coach, was a friend of Moore's and spoke to him as recently as Wednesday.

Moore's funeral will be held on Saturday in New York City.

Moore is survived by his mother, brother, and stepfather.