Woman Studying to Be Doctor Was Murdered at the Library

Deane Kenny Stryker, 22, was stabbed to death Saturday in Winchester, Mass.
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 26, 2018 10:45 AM CST
She Was Reading at the Library. Then a Hunting Knife Appeared
This photo provided by the Winchester Police Department shows Jeffrey Yao.   (Winchester Police Department via AP)

The public library in Winchester, Mass., is closed until at least Tuesday, per a Facebook post, for a reason both unexpected and horrifying: On Saturday morning, a woman was fatally stabbed with a hunting knife there in what authorities are calling an unprovoked attack. Boston.com quotes Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan as saying Deane Kenny Stryker, 22, was in a reading room adjacent to the lobby "apparently studying or doing work" when she was attacked from behind. Jeffrey Yao allegedly slashed her head and upper torso some 20 times with a 10-inch blade, and also attacked a 77-year-old man who tried to help Stryker; that man's injuries were not life-threatening. Patrons restrained the 23-year-old Yao until police arrived. More on the crime:

  • The court appearance: Yao was arraigned Monday in Woburn District Court on one count of armed assault with intent to murder and one count of murder, reports NECN. A not guilty plea was entered, and he was held without bail. His next court date is April 11.

  • The victim: Stryker was a first-year student at the University of New England's College of Osteopathic Medicine, reports the Boston Globe. The university's president says she "was just beginning her journey toward becoming a physician, and showed great promise. ... She was an advocate for domestic violence and mental health awareness. ... [She] was part of a student organization that provides confidential peer support to other students who need a place to turn when they are struggling."
  • "Severe mental illness": The Globe reports Yao is being represented by JW Carney Jr., who has been attached to high-profile cases like James "Whitey" Bulger and Brookline clinic shooter John C. Salvi III. In comments to the Globe, Carney called the attack "completely random" and "unquestionably related to [Yao's] severe mental illness," though he didn't provide specifics. Though Yao and Stryker attended Winchester High School around the same general time, they did not know each other, Carney said.
  • Missed warnings? "We warned them. We warned them. I can't believe this. This whole thing could have been avoided, all of it." So says one of Yao's neighbors to the Boston Herald. The unnamed man says Yao tried to smash his family's door in at 3am one night in late 2017. The neighbor says he not only alerted police but told them point-blank, "He will kill someone."
  • Another neighbor's fear: He wasn't the only neighbor who was scared of Yao, who had allegedly been slashing tires and doing other damage in the neighborhood; one woman says residents had started keeping bats near their beds for protection. She says police told her they were tracking Yao at night.
(More murder stories.)

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