January 18, 2007

Poffenbarger ’08 to Be Sentenced

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The student who pled guilty to felony hate crime charges after stabbing a visiting Union College student will be sentenced Monday. Nathan Poffenbarger ’08, who is white, admitted to stabbing then-senior Charles Holiday, who is black, after shouting racial epithets.

Poffenbarger later cleaned his knife, cut the blood stains out of his clothes, dismantled the weapon and burned the rags in his wastebasket. Poffenbarger faces separate felony charges of assault as a hate crime and tampering with evidence. The charges carry 16 months to four years of time in state prison.

After being kicked out of a party at Sigma Pi fraternity for fighting and shouting racial epithets, Poffenbarger continued to yell slurs while walking away from the house. Holiday and two friends confronted Poffenbarger on the sidewalk outside Baker Tower, where the stabbing occurred.

The incident caused an uproar on campus and prompted student activists to accuse Cornell of “institutional racism.”

The sentencing will take place at 3 p.m. in the Tompkins County Courthouse and is open to the public.