Frostburg student fatally stabbed at off-campus party

November 06, 2011|By Susan Reimer and John-John Williams IV | Baltimore Sun reporters

It was a church service at which Baltimore's Kortneigh McCoy, a 19-year-old Frostburg State University physics major known for her lovely voice, was supposed to sing.

But instead, more than 500 students and faculty jammed the Lane University Center Sunday afternoon to mourn her death.

Hours earlier, the Baltimore Polytechnic Institute graduate was fatally stabbed after a fight at an off-campus house party, police said. Police said officers arrived at about 1:30 a.m. to find her bleeding to death in the street outside the house from a wound to the head. She was declared dead at Western Maryland Hospital, police reported.

Arrested and charged with both first- and second-degree murder was Shanee Liggins, a 23-year-old senior business major from Waldorf, police said. She was being held by police Sunday until a bond hearing could be scheduled, police said. University officials said the party took place at Liggins' home on Maple Street in Frostburg.

Members of the Allegany County Combined Investigation Unit were not available to confirm those accounts Sunday afternoon.

McCoy was a member of the United Voices Under God's Dominion, a student gospel choir, and was scheduled to sing as part of the group's regular Sunday worship.

"I heard her singing in the cafeteria," said Devin James, a senior and president of the United Voices. "I invited her to join us [last year] and she's been with us ever since."

Friends created a Facebook page and announced that they would gather to mourn McCoy, who had expressed interest in becoming a doctor.

Liz Medcalf, a spokesman for Frostburg State University, said the Lane University Center was filled to capacity. Television crews from Washington and Baltimore were among the crowd.

Frostburg President Jonathan Gibralter, who announced McCoy's death on the university's Web page early Sunday morning, said at a morning news conference: "We here at Frostburg State University are reeling from this tragedy. We are very sad over the loss of such an incredible young woman ... with such amazing promise for the future."

According to police, McCoy left the party on Maple Street in Frostburg after an argument and the accused followed her into the street, produced a knife and stabbed her in the head. No motive for the attack was given, but accounts from eyewitnesses who posted on social media sites suggested that McCoy had attempted to break up a fight.

"Kortneigh was a peacemaker and she emphasized the need for friendships with God and with others," James told the press.

In addressing the media, the Frostburg State University president stressed that Frostburg was a safe environment for students and that McCoy's death was an anomaly.

"We do whatever we can to try to educate young people about how to manage conflict in an appropriate way, using their words," he said. "Unfortunately, we don't always have control over where they are and what they do. This is still a very safe community to live in and for people to send their children to."

McCoy was a resident assistant in Simpson Hall, a freshman dorm. Gibralter said she was known as a campus leader who attempted to make learning fun for her charges.

McCoy spent last summer working as a sales associate at Victoria's Secret in Towson Town Center Mall. Employees at the store were shocked to learn Sunday of her death.

"Kortneigh was just an amazing person," said store manager Lynda Burton. "We were looking forward to her returning for Black Friday and over the holiday."

The fatal stabbing of a Maryland college student was the second such incident in two months: In September, Bowie State University student Dominique T. Frazier, 18, was fatally stabbed. Her dormitory mate, Alexis D. Simpson, 19, has been charged in connection with the death.

Frostburg also was the site of a student-on-student killing in April 2010 that occurred after a fight at an off-campus party. Tyrone Hall of Glen Burnie opened fire with a 12-gauge shotgun, striking two fellow students in the abdomen. Twenty-year-old Brandon Carroll of Waldorf died; the other student survived. Hall was sentenced to a five-year prison sentence in November 2010.

In August, 22-year-old Derek Sheely of Germantown -- a Frostburg honors student and a captain of the football team -- died after suffering a head injury during practice.

At McCoy's memorial service, university representatives spoke of their grief at having to gather so soon again to mourn a student.

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