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20-Year-Old Charged In Homicide Of Ex-HS Soccer Standout From Westchester Rejects Plea Deal

Michael Roque Photo Credit: Binghamton Police
Joao Souza Photo Credit: GoFundMe

The 20-year-old former Binghamton University student who allegedly fatally stabbed a 19-year-old former high school soccer standout from Westchester has rejected a plea deal and will face a murder trial.

Michael Roque, who is charged with second-degree murder, has pleaded not guilty in Broome County Court this week to the fatal on-campus stabbing of Rye Brook resident Joao Souza. Roque will now stand trial later this year.

Souza, a freshman engineering student and Blind Brook High School graduate, was fatally stabbed several times in a residential hall on Sunday, April 15.

Roque, who is from Massapequa in Nassau County, was quickly identified as a suspect after being caught on surveillance cameras and he was subsequently arrested. At the time, police said that the incident was not a random act. Roque was indicted on the murder charge on May 14.

Roque had been offered a reduced sentence of 20 years to life in prison, and was due to accept the deal in court on Thursday, which would have reduced the minimum sentence by five years.

Roque remains remanded to the Broome County Jail. Pre-trial hearings have been scheduled for Sept. 20, while his trial is set for Sept. 24. He will be facing 25 years to life if convicted.

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