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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Student slain in residence hall

    UAPD Chief Anthony Daykin gives a statement yesterday afternoon across the street from Graham-Greenlee Residence Hall, where a homicide took place early yesterday morning.
    UAPD Chief Anthony Daykin gives a statement yesterday afternoon across the street from Graham-Greenlee Residence Hall, where a homicide took place early yesterday morning.

    A student living in Graham-Greenlee Residence Hall was arrested and charged with the murder of her roommate early yesterday morning.

    Mia J. Henderson, an 18-year-old biology freshman, and her roommate, Galareka Harrison, an 18-year-old public administration freshman, were transported to University Medical Center at around 6 a.m. yesterday after a residence assistant called police at 5:45 a.m., said Anthony Daykin, chief of the University of Arizona Police Department.

    Henderson was pronounced dead on arrival. Harrison’s injuries were not life-threatening, Daykin said.

    After her release from the hospital yesterday afternoon, Harrison was arrested and charged with first-degree murder for stabbing Henderson on the second floor of the residence hall, said Sgt. Eugene Mejia, UAPD public information officer. Harrison was booked into Pima County jail.

    The injuries the women sustained are consistent with those made by a knife, although police cannot confirm details, pending an investigation, Mejia said.

    Police said they believe this was an isolated incident.

    According to her MySpace online profile, Henderson was from Tuba City, Ariz. She was a member of the Navajo Nation of Arizona, Daykin said.

    The two women lived in the O’odham Ki living-learning community in the dorm, UAPD officials said, which is designed for Native American students as a collaboration between the First-Year Scholars Program of the Native American Student Affairs Office and Residence Life.

    On Aug. 28, a police report was filed listing Henderson as the victim of property crime. Harrison is an investigative lead in the case. Another unnamed student is also listed as a victim of property theft in the case, Daykin said.

    Money and other property had allegedly been stolen from Henderson and the other student, Daykin said.

    Following the theft, Henderson said she would not be living in her dorm room until alternate arrangements were made for one of the women to move.

    Harrison continued living in the room. It is unclear where Henderson was living, for how long or if she had moved back into the hall before the stabbing, Daykin said.

    Henderson turned down alternative housing arrangements offered by Residence Life, Daykin said.

    Police could not release other details surrounding what may have prompted the altercation.

    Messages from friends on Henderson’s MySpace page expressing disbelief and sadness began to appear by yesterday afternoon as news accounts and rumors spread throughout the UA campus.

    Counseling and Psychological Services were present at
    Graham-Greenlee yesterday. CAPS is accepting walk-in visits for students who need to speak with someone, said Johnny Cruz, director of media relations for the UA.

    The UA Parents Association released an e-mail to about 15,000 parents on its listserv this morning detailing what happened on campus and contacts for concerned parents, Cruz said. E-mails were also sent to UA students in accordance with the UA policy on email alerting them to the events that unfolded yesterday morning.

    This is the second on-campus death of a student this year, following a suicide in Coronado Residence Hall on Aug. 26.

    While it is too soon to tell if university policies concerning safety and security on campus will change following these incidents, safety issues are in the spotlight.

    “”We know that our campus community and external community is in a state of heightened awareness with the release of the Virginia Tech report recently and other campus issues,”” said Melissa Vito, vice provost for student affairs and dean of students.

    The last university-related homicide to occur between 2002 and 2005 unfolded when a UA nursing student shot and killed three UA professors at University Medical Center on Oct. 28, 2002. No arrests have been made for murder since 2002, because the student who shot at the nursing college committed suicide, according to police reports.

    A total of 35 weapons violations have been reported from 2002 to 2005, according to police records.

    University officials and police expressed sadness and condolences to the family about the death.

    “”Today’s event is a reminder that violence can strike anywhere in our society,”” Cruz said. “”We all hope that university campuses would be immune to these terrible acts. Sadly, they are not, and today we mourn a senseless death.””

    President Robert Shelton also extended his sympathies to those who knew Henderson.

    “”The death of student Mia Henderson is a terrible tragedy that saddens everyone in the University of Arizona family,”” Shelton said in a statement. “”On behalf of the University I want to extend my deepest sympathy to Mia’s parents, family and friends, and to assure our campus community that we are taking every possible step to handle this situation.””

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