Tri-C Student Fatally Stabbed

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BREAKING NEWS: Students Hold Moment of Silence in Class for Slain Classmate

Woman Stabbed 65 times on Cleveland’s East Side

By Bronson Peshlakai

Students in a Cuyahoga Community College class learned Thursday that a classmate who attended their business management class was murdered early Tuesday morning — and that was why Jessica Harrell, 31, wasn’t there that day to do her end-of-term presentation.

Cleveland Police from the third district answered a call around 4:20 a.m. to the 1900 block of E. 69th Street. The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner said Harrell was pronounced dead at the scene and that she was stabbed 65 times.

Police took Arthur Moncrief, 52, into custody an hour after the incident, but have not released any information about charges being filed in connection to the stabbing.

Students at Tri-C are wrapping up classes in preparation of final exams next week. Charles Brown worked on an end-of-term project with Harrell where they formulated a nonprofit organization called “ReGroup.” The main focus to bring new life for people living in the inner-city; a place for people to have a second chance.

“Jessica was very special. One thing about her, she kind of surprised me; once we had got (our project) started and trying to make these decisions, she had already got everything into motion and just started pushing it. She was really into this project and that’s what I love about her,” Brown said.

Upon hearing the news, the class was silent and grief-stricken, as Harrell’s usual seat sat empty. Assistant Professor Andrew Bajda took out her class journal, an assignment all students had to complete which included nine entries. Each entry designed for students to answer certain questions about their management style, personality, aspirations — kind of a moral and career inventory for students to reflect on and apply from classroom lectures.

Bajda read an entry about how Harrell described herself. She said she was an introvert, and that she had a passion for learning. She was proud to be a part of this class, and to have a voice in the decision-making process of making her group’s presentation the best she can. She said she aspired to be around influential people who can make positive change.

The class held several minutes of silence for her.

Tri-C officials offered this statement about Harrell, “We offer our sincerest condolences to the family and friends of Jessica Harrell. It very sad to lose a member of the Tri-C community,” said Alan Moran, vice president of marketing and communications.

Persons with information about this case are urged to call Cleveland Police Homicide Unit at 216-623-5464.

Reporter Note: To talk about this tragic incident on a personal level, it was a sad moment to find out a fellow student who sat directly in front of me was stabbed 65 times, when I just saw vibrant and full of life a week earlier. On the pamphlet distributed by her group, as part of the project, her smiling face, director of communications for “ReGroup.” On behalf of our class, our very heartfelt condolences to all Jessica’s family and friends.

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