Murder charge filed in Purdue University shooting
LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — A Purdue University student accused of killing a fellow student inside a classroom was formally charged with murder on Thursday shortly before his initial court hearing.
Prosecutors in Tippecanoe County filed the charge against Cody Cousins, 23, and asked that he remain in custody without bond. Magistrate Sean Persin entered a plea of not guilty on Cousins’ behalf and ordered him held without bond.
Prosecutors and police say Cousins attacked 21-year-old Andrew Boldt around noon Tuesday in Purdue’s Electrical Engineering Building on the campus in West Lafayette. Court documents released Thursday say Boldt suffered both gunshot and knife wounds and that several people were in the classroom and witnessed the attack.
The documents don’t give a possible motive. Police have said Cousins targeted Boldt but haven’t disclosed why or how the two might have known each other.
Both Cousins and Boldt were seniors, and police identified Boldt as a teaching assistant. Documents posted on the Purdue engineering school’s website also listed Cousins as a teaching assistant.
Police say when the first officer arrived at the scene of the attack, he spotted Cousins sitting on the ground outside the university building with his hands behind his head. The officer described Cousins as having blood on his hands and clothes.
Cousins — whose most recent address is in Warsaw, Ind., but also has ties to Centerville, Ohio — was arrested without incident.
Dressed in jail clothes, Cousins sat composed with his hands on his lap for most of his 10-minute hearing at the Tippecanoe County Jail in Lafayette. He spoke quietly, usually answering simply “yes” or “no,” when the magistrate asked him questions and explained that he could face up to 65 years in prison if convicted.
Ernest Cousins and Wendy Melancon attended their son’s hearing along with a sister of Cousins. Melancon hugged her daughter’s arm while in court. The family and other spectators sat in a gallery separated from the courtroom by a wall of glass and cinder blocks.
“They’re obviously struggling as well,” defense attorney Robert Gevers II said of Cousins’ family after the hearing. “Our hearts and their hearts are full of compassion and concern for the Purdue family and for the family of Mr. Boldt.”
Gevers, who during court did not contest prosecutors’ request that Cousins be held without bond, told reporters, “We will proceed in providing this young man, Mr. Cousins, the best defense we can.”
The case has tentatively been set for trial April 22.
Boldt’s funeral is scheduled for Tuesday in his hometown of West Bend, Wis. The visitation will be Tuesday afternoon at St. Frances Cabrini Church, followed by a funeral Mass that night at the church. Schoolmates from Purdue, as well as those who attended Marquette University High School in Milwaukee with him, are invited to attend. Local residents are welcome, too.
Pastor Nathan Reesman says Boldt’s family members continue to request that their privacy be respected. He asks that media not attend the visitation and funeral.