WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (MCT) – A Purdue University student was charged with murder Thursday, accused of shooting and stabbing a fellow student in a lab on campus.
Magistrate Court Judge Sean Persin entered a not-guilty plea, considered standard procedure, on behalf of Cody M. Cousins, 23, during a 10-minute hearing Thursday in a courtroom at the jail. He is charged with killing Andrew Boldt of West Bend, Wis.
Cousins answered a series of questions with one-word responses as he sat next to his attorney, Robert W. Gevers II of Fort Wayne. Cousins' parents and sister also were in the courtroom.
He was ordered held without bail and given a tentative trial date of April 22 in Tippecanoe Superior Court. The murder charge carries a potential sentence of 45 to 65 years in prison. Prosecutors could seek to make it a death penalty case.
"Our hearts and their hearts are full of compassion and concern for the Purdue family and for the family of Mr. Boldt," Gevers said after the hearing, speaking for himself and the Cousins family.
"We will proceed in providing this young man, Mr. Cousins, the best defense we can," he said.
Court documents released Thursday describe how police found Boldt with gunshot and stab wounds inside Room 067 in the basement of the electrical engineering building, where he was working as a teaching assistant.
Bloody footprints dotted the floor, and a knife and a handgun lay on the ground, along with several spent shell casings.
Andrew Pawling told the Purdue Exponent that he heard "pop" sounds while he was in the lab and turned to see his teaching assistant being killed "point blank."
"As I was turning around I heard another pop, then I saw my (teaching assistant) fall to the floor. The guy got on top of him and then shot him in the face, once or twice and maybe two more times," Pawling said.
When police arrived shortly after noon, they saw students fleeing the building and Cousins sitting outside with his hands behind his head. Blood stained his hands and clothes, according to court documents. Witnesses identified Cousins as the person who stabbed and shot Boldt.
Boldt, 21, a graduate of Marquette University High School, was specifically targeted by the shooter, police say, but a motive is unknown.
Cousins, a graduate of Springboro High School in Centerville, Ohio, also was a teaching assistant.
A student who lived in the same rental house as Cousins described him as "a pretty normal college student."
"A week before the break, I was in his room just chilling and watching 'Stepbrothers' with him," Andrew Matyasovski told the Lafayette Journal and Courier. "I would have never imagined anything like this happening."
"Obviously something was wrong in (Cousins') life, I don't know what. ... I didn't see any outward expression of that," Matyasovski said.
Tom Novak, a senior from Hammond, Ind., lived down the street from Cousins and knew him through mutual friends.
"He was calm and calculating and smart," Novak said. "He wasn't a nice guy. He was rude and argumentative."
Novak recalled that Cousins would often show up at Novak's apartment unnannounced and tried to steer discussions to scientific ideas.
Cousins showed a streak of stubborness and always thought he was right, Novak said. "He was intelligent but he didn't have emotional intelligence," he said. "I feel like he lacked empathy."
Boldt has been described by teachers and friends as an exceptional and enthusiastic person and student.
"Through his work, I knew him to be a wonderful person, very pleasant. I can't imagine anyone not liking him," Purdue professor David G. Meyer said.