- The Washington Times - Monday, May 12, 2003

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (AP) — Police yesterday arrested a man in connection with a dormitory fire that killed an 18-year-old student, found a week ago with stab wounds in her burning room at Western Kentucky University.

Lucas Goodrum, 21, of Scottsville was charged with murder in the death of freshman Katie Autry, university Police Chief Bob Deane said yesterday.

“We made the arrest based on information we received during the course of our investigation,” Chief Deane said.

He said Mr. Goodrum was not a student at the university, but the chief refused to provide any other details, including what Mr. Goodrum’s relationship to Miss Autry may have been and what led to his arrest.

Mr. Goodrum was being held in lieu of $1 million cash bond. Bob Edwards, vice president of university affairs, said more charges were expected to be filed, including arson.

The arrest came a week after firefighters pulled Miss Autry from a fire in her second-floor dorm room around 4 a.m. Along with third-degree burns, she had puncture wounds and abrasions to her face and neck, authorities said. She died four days later.

“I hope that they have the right person,” Miss Autry’s aunt, Virginia White, said yesterday. “We still won’t be satisfied until this person gets what’s coming to them.”

No other students were injured in the May 4 fire, which was confined to Miss Autry’s room. Her roommate was away at the time, and only about 50 of the 310 residents were in the building.

“As the investigation continues, we’ll learn how he got into Katie’s room,” said university President Gary Ransdell. “We don’t know at this point what took place behind the locked doors.”

Western Kentucky’s campus police department has said little about the investigation, which it has led.

Throughout the week, more than 100 students were interviewed, including members of a campus fraternity, where friends said Miss Autry had attended a party the night before the fire.

Justin Perkins, president of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, said he didn’t know Mr. Goodrum. “I never was worried that it was a member of our fraternity,” he said.

News of the arrest spread quickly across the campus of 16,000 students, about 110 miles south of Louisville.

“I’m glad they made an arrest,” said Natalya Bourn, a senior from Danville, Ill. “It makes me feel more comfortable but not totally safe.”

Mr. Ransdell said policies related to the school’s residence halls would be reviewed.


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