Massachusetts Art Professor Denies Trying To Beat Her Colleague To Death

ORANGE, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — A college professor in central Massachusetts was charged on Wednesday with nine felony counts including armed assault to murder, after she allegedly attacked a fellow faculty member with a rock, garden clippers, and a fire poker.

According to the Greenfield Recorder, Mount Holyoke College art professor Rie Hachiyanagi has pleaded not guilty to three counts of armed assault to murder a person age 60 or older, three counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon on a person age 60 or older, and single counts of mayhem, home invasion, and armed assault in a dwelling.


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A statement from Mount Holyoke College said the 48-year-old art professor was placed on leave after being charged with violently attacking another member of the faculty over the holiday break.

"During the winter recess, there was a serious incident involving two Mount Holyoke faculty members," the statement said. "The incident occurred off-campus and resulted in the hospitalization of one faculty member who is receiving care. We understand that the other faculty member involved is in custody and facing criminal charges. This individual has been placed on administrative leave from the college and is not permitted on our campus pending further review of the incident."

According to the State Trooper's report, Hachiyanagi admitted to the victim that she was carrying out the attack because she was in love with her, and she did not believe those feelings were being returned.

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The Trooper's report shows authorities first arrived at the unnamed victim's house on Long Hill Road in Leverett at 12:44 a.m. on December 24, 2019 for a possible home invasion and assault and battery. There, they found the victim suffering serious injuries, and Hachiyanagi sitting on the floor with blood on her clothes.

The art teacher claimed to have found her friend, the victim, inside the victim's home "in a pool of blood," and "barely breathing, semi-conscious and with a head injury." Hachiyanagi claimed to have found an exterior door open and that she had seen signs of a struggle.

She told Troopers she sat down to hold her injured friend, which is why her own clothes were covered in blood.

The police report lists several docket entries of evidence, including photographs of blood stains on the fireplace and living room floor. A Crime Scene Services' attending physician offered a preliminary opinion that the victim had "multiple broken bones" in her "nose and eye area, and numerous lacerations and puncture wounds on [her] head and face." The injuries were not considered life-threatening.

In front of Hachiyanagi, the victim confirmed the story. But according to the Trooper's report, once she was at Baystate Medical Center, the victim gave a very different version of events.

She said she did not want to identify her assailant until she had been moved from the scene, out of fear for her own personal safety, but that she "thought she was going to die at the hands of Hachiyanagi."

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The victim told investigators that Hachiyanagi had arrived unannounced at the victim's home on the morning before the attack, presenting her with a poinsettia plant. The victim said she also ran into Hachiyanagi again later that day on campus. The victim then returned to her home around 8 p.m. and noticed a shadow on the deck, so she asked who was there.

The victim alleges that Hachiyanagi "emerged from the darkness" saying that she "really missed her and wanted to talk about her feelings."

After Hachiyanagi was invited inside, she allegedly started attacking the victim from behind with "multiple implements," including "fists, rocks, garden clippers, and a fire poker."

When the victim asked why she was being attacked, Hachiyanagi reportedly stated "that she loved her for many years, and she should have known."

The victim said she managed to persuade Hachiyanagi to stop the attack and call 911 by "playing along" and lying, saying that she did in fact reciprocate the feelings of love.

When asked to recount her whereabouts leading up to the alleged attack, Hachiyanagi said she started the day by renting an SUV, despite having a working registered car, because it "rode higher off the ground and made her feel live." She then delivered a poinsettia to her colleague, went to a restaurant, and returned the SUV. Hachiyanagi said she remembered nothing after 6 p.m. due to previous concussions that affect her memory.

Hachiyanagi was found to be in possession of the victim's keys, cell phone, and glasses. She was arrested hours after the December 24 attack.

Hachiyanagi has been ordered held without bail in the Franklin County House of Corrections, and is due back in court on February 19.

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