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Roque Pleads Not Guilty in Fatal Stabbing of BU Freshman

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The Binghamton University student accused of killing freshman Joao Souza was arraigned in Broome County Court Thursday afternoon.

Michael Roque pleaded not guilty to the second-degree murder indictment.

Roque will remain at the Broome County Jail awaiting further court proceedings.

District Attorney Steve Cornwell explained why Roque couldn’t be charged with first-degree murder.

“Murder in the second degree is the highest charge available for the facts of this case. If more than one person was murdered than it can be murder in the first degree. If a firefighter, police officer, emergency personnel, a witness who was going to testify on trial. If it’s their murder it can be elevated to murder in the first degree. That’s the way New York has the law set up.”

Prosecutors say the 20-year-old stabbed engineering student Joao Souza multiple times in his dorm suite in Windham Hall on April 15th.

Roque’s trial is set for September 17th. He’s facing 25 years to life in prison if convicted.