A former SUNY Geneseo student, apparently distraught over a breakup with his girlfriend, used a “large knife” to kill her and a male Geneseo student before taking his own life over the weekend, Geneseo authorities said at a news conference Monday afternoon.
A 911 call from a worried father alerted police that his son, Colin Kingston, told him he had killed his girlfriend and was going to kill himself. That led Geneseo village police to the grisly discovery of the three bodies in an off-campus house near the college campus in Livingston County early Sunday.
Police identified the three as Kelsey Annese, 21, a senior from Webster and a member of the women’s basketball team; Matthew Hutchinson, 24, a senior from North Vancouver, British Columbia, a player on the men’s hockey team and a member of the Geneseo Volunteer Fire Department; and Kingston, 24, a Geneseo resident who previously had attended the college.
Both Annese and Hutchinson suffered fatal knife wounds in the attack, Geneseo Police Public Information Officer Jeffrey Szczesniak said at the news conference.
After the attack, Kingston apparently called his father, who relayed the information to Geneseo police.
“When the phone call was terminated by Colin, shortly thereafter Colin [appeared to] have taken his own life,” Szczesniak said.
The public-information officer added that it appeared Annese and Kingston had been in a relationship before breaking up.
“We believe Mr. Kingston was distraught over the breakup, which led to the events yesterday,” Szczesniak added.
The discovery shocked the SUNY campus, where two of the deceased were student-athletes, and the small Geneseo community, where the third person lived.
A 911 audio tape available on Facebook shed more light on the call from the younger Kingston to his father.
“[The father] reported that his son, Colin Kingston, just called him from unknown number, and he said he murdered his girlfriend ... and he’s also going to kill himself,” the 911 dispatcher says on the tape, before adding, “Unknown means, unknown address.”
Police believe the killings occurred between 5:30 a.m. and 6:21 a.m., when Kingston’s father called 911. Law enforcement was undertaking overnight parking enforcement, and there were several tickets issued at 5:30 a.m., Szczesniak said.
“We believe Mr. Kingston arrived after 5:30,” he said.
He said police do not believe there was forced entry into the house, which was rented by several members of the women’s basketball team. A rear door was unlocked, and Kingston had to take several hallways and a flight of stairs to the second-floor bedroom.
Szczesniak said four others were home at the time of the incident, but because of the layout of the house, they were some distance from the bedroom.
“No one had heard anything that made them believe anything was happening in the house,” he said.
The crime scene was the small bedroom.
“We believe it was something that happened quickly,” he said of the killings.
He said Kingston had no criminal record, and there was no documentation of trouble between him and Annese.
“There was some indication Mr. Kingston was very upset with the recent breakup. He had made some suicidal comments to several people, but no actual threats to harm Miss Annese,” he said.
Kingston and Annese had some contact several days before the killings, but there was no indication he had any contact with Hutchinson, Szczesniak said. There also was no indication that Hutchinson and Annese were in a relationship, he said.
Kingston was seen in Geneseo around 8 p.m. or 9 p.m. Saturday evening, but he said police don’t know if his intention was to harm himself or Annese. Family and friends said the two had dated for about three years.
“We can only speculate,” Szczesniak said.
Experts in forensic psychology say that the use of a knife makes sense in such an apparent crime of passion.
“A knife is a pretty personal weapon to kill someone with,” said Charles P. Ewing, a forensic psychologist and University at Buffalo distinguished law professor. “It’s not easy to kill someone with a knife.
“Usually, there’s something very emotional going on when someone kills someone with a knife,” added Ewing, an expert in domestic violence. “It’s not the cold, detached kind of killing that you see with a gun.”
Without knowing the details about the Geneseo killings, Ewing also suggested that the kind of weapon often says something about how planned or spontaneous an attack is.
“I think the knife suggests impulsivity and lack of planning,” he said, speaking generally. “That sounds more like a crime of passion than premeditation or calculation.”
On Monday, SUNY Geneseo President Denise A. Battles again expressed her condolences to the family and friends of the three young people.
“It’s a profoundly sad day for all of us at SUNY Geneseo and in the village,” she said.
The flag at College Circle has been lowered to half staff, a remembrance service is planned for 7 p.m. Wednesday, and classes for the spring semester will start Tuesday as scheduled.
“We think our students will be comforted by keeping as much stability in their lives as possible, even during this difficult period of mourning,” she said.
Police said Annese lived at the Wadsworth home. Her team played in Buffalo on Saturday afternoon against SUNY Buffalo State. Annese, a guard, played 13 minutes and scored five points in her team’s 63-52 victory. She was a Spanish/education major with a minor in psychology.
Hutchinson, a defenseman, appeared in eight games for the hockey team this season. Hutchinson wrote an online commentary for the college about his desire to be a full-time firefighter, including a photo of him dressed in firefighting gear. He was a geography major and a business studies minor.
In his commentary, Hutchinson recalled a summer stint with the British Columbia Wildfire Service: “The days can be long, the work grueling, but very rewarding. When you get up close and personal, it gets hot, your adrenaline gets going quick. You have to respect what you’re dealing with.”
Kingston was not registered for the spring semester, according to the college, but previously attended the college.
SUNY Geneseo is about a 90-minute drive from Buffalo. Classes for the spring semester start Tuesday and will go on as scheduled, the college said.