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University of Virginia Students Arrested for Murder

From University Wire

Six SWAT team members entered Dillard House and arrested a University of Virginia student and her boyfriend early Thursday morning on charges of first-degree murder and robbery.

Police officials sought UVa senior Shiree Carr and her boyfriend, Charlottesville resident Dylan Tyree, in conjunction with the Sept. 22 shooting of Osama Hassan, an employee at the a nearby Shell store.

"There were no complications" in the arrest, Albemarle County Police Chief John Miller said. "Both were taken without incident."

Officials allege that an unnamed 16-year-old boy, accompanied by Tyree and local resident Isaac Brown, entered the Shell station and shot Hassan eight times before looting the cash register.

Although Carr did not participate in the shooting, police officials said she had both prior and after-the-fact knowledge of the crime. The four face a maximum sentence of life in prison for first-degree murder.

Police officials said they made little progress in the case until Charlottesville police officials discovered the murder weapon, a .22 caliber semi-automatic pistol, during a search for stolen property in an unrelated case.

Forensic studies linked the weapon both to Hassan's death and to one of the suspects, although officials would not say which one.

"Over time, we kept developing information," said Sgt. Duane Karr, the case's investigating officer. "After the city came up with some names, and after we talked with one of them, he confessed."

Following the confession, county police acquired arrest warrants for all remaining suspects involved in the shooting.

All four suspects, whose ages vary from 16 to 21 years old, were "very close friends" and were "all local residents of the Charlottesville area," Karr said.

Following last Thursday's arrest, University and County officers spoke with area residents to explain what had happened. University officials also offered psychological support to all of Carr's suitemates, who declined to comment on the events.

Carr spent Thursday night in the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail. Officials released her Friday morning after she posted a $35,000 secure bond. The other three suspects are still incarcerated.

Carr did not return phone calls.

A first-degree murder conviction is contingent on proof of premeditation.

"I feel very good about the strength of our evidence and this case as a whole," Miller said. "They had made a distinct decision to take Mr. Hassan's life. It was not an accident."

Miller, however, declined to comment on the chances of conviction.

Under first-degree murder charges, suspects found guilty can face life in prison.

First-degree murder charges can be upgraded to a capital offense in Virginia. The decision to pursue capital murder charges is left up to the Commonwealth Attorney.

"I don't think at this point that capital murder charges would be raised against" Carr, Commonwealth Attorney James L. Camblos III said. "She just wasn't there."

Camblos said the others would be reviewed "on a case-by-case basis."

Although the four suspects have been arrested, Karr said much remains before going to trial.

"I'm very pleased we've gotten [the investigation] together in three weeks," he said. "However, we still have plenty of interviews and such to do before we're done."

The suspects will appear at a preliminary hearing at the end of the month.

[Cavalier Daily, Oct. 15, 1998]

CSU student comes forward

Coming on the heels of an investigation into how a derogatory figure made it onto a float at Colorado State University's Homecoming parade, a man claimed responsibility and resigned from the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, said Brent Seebohm, the public information officer for the fraternity.

A member of the fraternity said he was responsible for erecting a scarecrow that contained derogatory messages about gays on a Homecoming float, Seebohm said.

The float was co-sponsored by the fraternity and by the Alpha Chi Omega sorority.

The individual resigned his membership and wrote a formal letter of apology to the fraternity and the community, Seebohm said.

"He acknowledged his actions," Seebohm said. "He apologized to the chapter itself and for harming the reputation of the Greeks, the university and the community, and he did it on his own."

So far in the investigation, the fraternity has suspended seven members. Currently, there will be eleven university discipline hearings in the coming weeks, said Sonia ImMasche, assistant director of Greek Life at CSU.

"Suspended means they are no longer members; they are terminated," ImMasche said.

The scarecrow contained the words "I'm Gay" on the front and "Up My Ass" on the back. The fraternity said the float was vandalized and it was by accident that the scarecrow was a part of it.

The Alpha Chi Omega sorority expelled one member on Saturday after finding out she had vandalized the float "She was out of the sorority even before the parade," ImMasche said.

Although members of the sorority were not on the float when the scarecrow was erected, they are still being investigated by the university.

"They are really upset with themselves for letting this happen," ImMasche said. "They thought they had done enough (by expelling the member)."

ImMasche said the sorority is having trouble pulling themselves together.

"They are shell-shocked and disgusted with the whole thing," she said. "They are absolutely distraught."

The chapter has since closed because they don't want to be "mired in this senseless campus incident," the sorority said in a statement.

The float violated a Homecoming rule that said all groups of people must be represented in a way that is beneficial to the group.

[Rocky Mountain Collegian, Oct. 15, 1998]

BC hate e-mailer will be punished

Vice President of Student Affairs Kevin P. Duffy sent out a letter to all Boston College students, faculty and staff in response to the town meeting held last week in response to racially-motivated and homophobic events, including a recent e-mail incident.

In the letter, Duffy clarified what action will be taken against the sender of the e-mail, if found.

"Should the sender of the e-mail be positively identified, he or she will be suspended immediately from the University as a threat to the campus community, and internal judicial action will be initiated," Duffy wrote.

According to Duffy, the "investigation remains our police department's top priority."

The Middlesex County District Attorney's Office and the Civil Rights Division of the State Attorney General's Office have been requested to assist campus technology specialists and BC detectives in the search.

At this time, it has been confirmed that the messages were sent from a specific workstation in the Student Learning and Support Center at 11:38 p.m. on Sept. 30.

It appears that another student's name was fraudulently entered when the e-mail was sent.

At the town meeting held on Oct. 1, student leaders from both the AHANA Leadership Council (ALC) and UGBC presented the administration with a list of demands. Duffy addressed many of those issues.

According to Duffy, there is counseling available to all students who are victims of discrimination, and has been offered to all those who received the e-mail message last week.

Duffy also cited other organizations that provide resources, such as the University Harassment Counselor, UGBC, the Discriminatory Harassment Network and the Office of the Dean for Student Development.

Duffy also stated that the Campus Police Department has added additional patrols to ensure the physical safety of community members.

Responding to other demands, Duffy said the University "has promulgated and strictly enforces anti-discrimination policies that protect the rights of all gay, lesbian, and bisexual members of the community."

He said support systems are run through the Office of the Dean for Student Development.

Diversity training, an issue raised at the meeting, "is an important part of orientation for faculty," Duffy said. "Expanded student input into this programming would be welcomed."

The Freshman Orientation Program includes three segments on hate crimes and racial issues. According to Duffy, diversity is also an important part of the curriculum in the Freshman Cornerstone Courses.

Duffy cited University President William P. Leahy's desire for diversity and racial relations to be among his top priorities for the academic year, with the ultimate goal of making BC a more welcoming community.

Duffy stressed the need to not allow this "cowardly attack on each and every member of the community" to "create division amongst us" and stop us from our goal of building a community in "which every member is respected and treated justly." Duffy said, "In this we will not fail."

Also this past week, the Anti-Defamation League released a statement in response to the Oct. 1 incident.

"The Anti-Defamation League wants to commend Boston College for their prompt response to this situation," the statement read.

[The Heights, Oct. 14, 1998]