A 39-year-old woman has been arrested and charged with murder in a stabbing inside a Lincoln University residence hall that court records indicate started as a fight and turned bloody and deadly.
Nydira Smith, 39, of Philadelphia, is charged with stabbing 21-year-old Jawine Evans to death, as well as stabbing two others who survived their wounds.
“This is a parent’s worst nightmare. This senseless and tragic incident is devastating to not only the families of the victims but the entire Lincoln University community – students, staff, and parents – who believed their college campus was a safe place," Chester County District Attorney Deb Ryan said in a written statement.
According to an affidavit of probable cause, police officers responded to the fight at the Chester County school on Feb. 16 around 9:14 p.m. and found Evans stabbed in the neck and arm in a grassy area outside a residence hall, where they also found the other, 22-year-old victims.
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Evans died at the scene while the other two were rushed to Christiana Hospital in Wilmington, Delaware, where they were treated and released.
When officers entered the first floor of the Thurgood Marshall Living Learning Center, they found blood spattered on the floor, walls and doors in front of dorm 114, according to the affidavit. They also found bloody footprints that led to a dorm on the third floor, where one of the stabbing victims resided.
Cellphone video showed multiple men – including the three who were stabbed – and two women – including Smith, fighting outside room 114, the affidavit indicated. One of the students involved in the fight was Smith's brother.
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Security video from the front of the school showed a maroon Infiniti arriving on campus at 9:07 p.m., the affidavit said. The stabbing happened at 9:14.
Campus police chief Marc Partee said during a Thursday press conference that Smith was able to enter the campus because she was the family member of a student, verified the student's information, showed ID and said she was going to pick up the student.
"My husband and I are devastated over the loss of our beloved son Jawine," Evans' mother, Beverly Evans, said in a written statement issued through Bruce Castor, the lawyer representing the family.
"We thought he would be safe on the campus of Lincoln University, and never dreamed such a terrible thing could happen there. We’re stunned at the lax university security, but extremely grateful to Chester County law enforcement for catching Jawine’s killer, and for DA Ryan’s comments showing she is taking a strong public stand to bring his killer to justice," Beverly Evans said.
The school will be evaluating its security procedures in light of the stabbing, Partee said.
Detectives traced the car back to Smith and found what appeared to be blood inside, the police document said. They also found blood-stained clothing matching what cellphone video showed Smith was wearing during the stabbing, as well as a knife missing from a knife block, according to the affidavit.
Smith was held in county jail without bail on murder charges. Online court records don't list an attorney who could comment on her behalf.
According to its website, Lincoln University was founded in 1854 as "the nation's first degree-granting Historically Black College and University, or HBCU." It is located in Chester County, Pennsylvania.
As of this past fall, 1,767 students were enrolled.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. We take the safety of our students seriously and are working with local authorities as there is an ongoing investigation," the university said in a statement shortly after the stabbing.