BALTIMORE _ Alexander Kinyua on Monday pleaded guilty to charges that he killed a family friend and ate his heart and part of his brain, as a Harford County, Md., judge agreed that the defendant was not criminally responsible for the act because of mental illness.
Kinyua, 22, faced first-degree murder and weapon charges in the 2012 death of Kujoe Bonsafo Agyei-Kodie. Circuit Judge Stephen M. Waldron committed him to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
A family friend and the victim's uncle testified about how the victim's death affected the family. Kinyua did not address the court.
Percess Veronica Mattison, the family friend, described Kodie, a Ghanaian national who had studied in Maryland, as "a godly young man" whose goal was to become educated at the highest level possible and then return to his home country.
"He did not talk as a dreamer, but as an achiever," Mattison said.
Prosecutors said that after consulting with an outside psychiatric expert, they had to concede that Kinyua was not criminally responsible for his actions at the time of the murder because of his mental health problems.
"We really had no evidence, no testimony or opinion from other medical personnel that would dispute the findings of the doctors" at Perkins, Harford County State's Attorney Joseph I. Cassilly said after the hearing.
Waldron said he accepted Kinyua's plea based on the information provided by both the defense and prosecution.
"My heart breaks for you," he told Kodie's family. "I'm very, very sorry."
Kinyua's lawyer, Donald Daneman, declined to comment Friday through an employee who answered the phone at his office.
Kinyua is being held at Clifton T. Perkins Hospital in Jessup. In December, he pleaded guilty but not criminally responsible in Baltimore Circuit Court to beating a fellow Morgan State University student with a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire in a separate case.
The beating victim, Joshua Ceasar, is suing the university, claiming officials failed to protect him and ignored warning signs that Kinyua was mentally unstable.
Kodie's death occurred days after Kinyua was released on bail in Ceaser's beating.
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