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Man Charged In Homicide Of Ex-Westchester HS Soccer Standout Switches Plea

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

In an about-face, a 20-year-old former Binghamton University student has now admitted to fatally stabbing a 19-year-old former high school soccer standout from Westchester after rejecting a plea deal last week .

Michael Roque, who is charged with second-degree murder, entered the plea in Broome County Court to the fatal on-campus stabbing of Rye Brook resident Joao Souza on Friday. He is being held in jail until his sentencing on Nov. 16.

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.

As part of the deal, Roque has been offered a reduced sentence of up to 20 years in prison. He had been facing 25 years to life if the case went to trial.

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