College professor accused of trying to beat co-worker to death

Rie Hachiyanagi

Rie Hachiyanagi was charged with attempted murder on Friday.

A Massachusetts art professor allegedly gave killing the old college try — when she beat a fellow faculty member “she loved” with rocks, garden shears and a fire poker, authorities said.

Mount Holyoke College professor Rie Hachiyanagi was charged with attempted murder at her Friday arraignment at Orange District Court and ordered held without bail until a Feb. 4 court hearing.

Investigators say Hachiyanagi, 48, called 911 shortly after midnight on Dec. 24 to report that another Holyoke prof was lying in a pool of blood and barely breathing inside her Leverett, MA home, the Daily Hampshire Gazette reported.

When police arrived, Hachiyanagi, a professor at the college since 2004, told cops that her clothes were bloody from holding her injured co-worker, the paper reported.

But when cops spoke to the terrified victim, who had been rushed to a nearby hospital fearing for her life, she told investigators that Hachiyanagi was her attacker, authorities told the outlet.

Hachiyanagi — who specializes in handmade paper crafts and performance art — had allegedly driven to the victim’s house uninvited the night of Dec. 23, claiming she “wanted to talk about her feelings,” according to a police report.

Once inside, she began attacking the victim, who is over the age of 60, with a myriad of household objects, including rocks, garden clippers and a fire poker, WWLP reported.

The victim told cops that Hachiyanagi told her “she loved her for many years and she should have known,” a police report said.

Hachiyanagi was arrested later in the day and hit with a slew of charges, including armed assault with attempt to murder, mayhem, and three counts of assault and battery with a weapon, the paper reported.

According to court documents, Hachiyanagi initially told police it looked like there had been a struggle inside the residence when she arrived — but when cops searched for signs of an intruder, no other suspects emerged, Western Mass News wrote.

In a later interview with police, she claimed she didn’t remember anything after 6 p.m. that night and has a history of concussions that affect her memory, officials said.

When cops took her into custody, she was found with several of the victim’s personal items, including keys, glasses, and a cell phone, police reported.

A spokesperson for Mount Holyoke College — where tuition plus room and board for 2019-2020 is $67,578 —  said Hachiyanagi had been placed on administration leave and banned from the South Hadley campus in an email statement.

“We take very seriously the safety and well-being of every member of our community, and the College is providing support to impacted parties as appropriate,” College President Sonya Stephens wrote.

The school’s website says Hachiyanagi is the Chair of the Art Studio department and also teaches classes in Asian Studies.

“Sometimes she makes statements in class which don’t seem appropriate,” one student wrote in a review of her class.

Hachiyanagi, who is being held at the Franklin County House of Correction, did not return an email. It was not immediately known if she had an attorney.

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