Ithaca resident Nagee Green has been arrested and charged with the second-degree murder of Ithaca College student, Anthony Nazaire, the Ithaca Police Department announced at a press conference Monday night.
Nazaire was fatally stabbed in a large fight outside Olin Hall on Aug. 28, after leaving a party held by Omega Psi Phi in Willard Straight Hall. Green was also charged with second-degree assault of a second victim who was also stabbed on the scene, but has recovered. The name of the second victim was not released.
Green pled not guilty to all charges. Police said it does not appear that Green knew either of the two victims and confirmed that he was not enrolled at any local university.
Green, 23, was detained while boarding a transit bus in Freeville, N.Y., where he also sometimes resides, at 1:30 p.m. today. The case is expected to proceed to a grand jury on Nov. 10, and no evidence will be presented until that date, the acting District Attorney Andrew Bonavia said.
When asked why it took the Ithaca police over two months to publicly charge a suspect, officers said they spent the time sifting through “hundreds” of leads, reiterating their belief that no time is too long to deliver justice to the community.
“This isn’t like TV where you can watch an episode and you see the crime and the conclusion all within a one hour period,” Barber said. “It takes time to gather the evidence and put together a good solid case that you can bring to court. So that’s what we’ve done here.”
When Chief John Barber was asked why a murder witnessed by hundreds required such a lengthy investigation, the officer replied, “That’s a good question.”
“While we may not have any solace, tonight we can be assured that we will have justice,” Mayor Svante Myrick ’09 said.
Although Barber refused to comment on whether Green had a police record, in April, Green’s car, which did not have a license plate, was detained at a traffic stop and contained marijuana and cocaine, according to The Ithaca Voice.
After hearing of the arrest, Katia Toussaint, Nazaire’s mother, said the family will push for Green to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
“I still haven’t made it to my son’s grave yet,” she said. “That’s to show you. Now that I have heard that [Green] got arrested tomorrow morning I’m going to visit my son’s grave for the first time.”
Barber also called the murder an act of “unspeakable violence that has no place in Ithaca,” seeking to reassure Ithacans that the city “is in a safer place right now with the person taken off the street.”
“This is overall a very safe community,” he said. “Several years ago we were voted the most safe city in America with a population of less than 150,000 people and that’s something that we here at the Ithaca Police Department take pride in.”
In a statement, Joel M. Malina, Cornell’s vice president for University relations expressed the University’s relief that the case has been resolved.
“We are pleased that the Ithaca Police Department investigation has led to an arrest in this case, and are grateful for the ongoing efforts by IPD, Cornell University Police and other area law enforcement agencies to protect the safety and security of our campus and the surrounding communities,” he said.
President Hunter Rawlings, in a statement, said the University will maintain an increased level of blue light escorts and police patrols “at least through the end of the semester as we continue to evaluate improvements to campus safety and emergency preparedness.”
Tom Rochon, the president of Ithaca College, also said in a statement, “I wish to express my gratitude to the many officers and investigators from local law enforcement agencies who have spent countless hours investigating this case.”
Josh Girsky ’19 and Josephine Chu ’18 contributed reporting to this story.