Purdue prof talks for the first time about classroom murder

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Professor David Meyer sits behind his desk in the Electrical Engineering Building at Purdue University trying to get ready for the start of classes Monday morning, but he's finding it hard to concentrate.

A short time earlier, he learned that Cody Cousins had pleaded guilty in the murder of fellow student Andrew Boldt.

Meyer, still processing the news, is clearly caught off-guard. He wasn't expecting it. He was expecting a trial in October, in which he would likely be called to testify.

"It's comforting to know there's not a trial because of the potential angst, but the plea doesn't tell us anything new. The disturbing thing is we still don't know a motive," he says. "And there's a wake of grief caused by this whole incident. We're still grieving for (Boldt's) family."

What happened January 21 in a basement-level computer engineering lab has touched him deeply. After Thursday's guilty plea, Meyer spoke publicly about the attack for the first time, knowing he would no longer have to testify in court.

Meyer knew both students. He hired them as teaching assistants. While Cousins was new to the job, Boldt was entering his fourth semester as a TA.

"He was so helpful to so many people," he says of Boldt. "He was so well-liked. He went above and beyond for everyone and not just in academics."

The memory of that dark day in January is still as vivid as ever. Meyer recalls being in his office and getting a call from a student fearing for his life. Nothing prepared him for what followed.

"It was so brutal and inhumane," he says, his voice trailing off.

He believes "The only reason it occurred where it did is because Cody knew where Andrew would be at the time...the lab schedules are public."

Meyer also referred to the "closed and confined space of the lab."

The attack did not take place in a large lecture hall. It occurred in a lab or very small classroom. There are no windows. There's one door leading into the room and another into an adjacent lab.

Neither room has been used since the murder. Several lab tables are stacked on top of one another. At the front of the room, about 20 feet from the door, a section of tile has been removed. It's where Boldt was killed, Meyer says, in front of a dozen students, with twelve more in the adjacent lab.

"The location caused a lot of collateral grief," he says. "It's bad enough to have the intent to murder someone, but to do it in a public place?"

Meyer gets choked up talking about it. He says there's still "an unspeakable grief," but at least now there's also some relief knowing the Boldt family and the Purdue community won't have to relive the trauma of that horrific day by enduring a long trial.

He points to a plaque titled The Andrew Boldt "3-Z" Teaching Award, presented annually to the ECE Undergraduate Teaching Assistant who best exemplifies Drew's zest for life, his zany "make learning fun" personality, and his zealous promotion of professionalism."

That is how he hopes people remember Andrew Boldt, not how he died, but how he lived and touched so many people in such a positive way.