‘This whole thing could have been avoided’: Neighbors say they warned cops about man who allegedly hacked college student to death in random library stabbing

Onlookers reportedly watched in horror as Jeffrey Yao repeatedly stabbed the woman with a 10-inch hunting knife

A Massachusetts man wielding a 10-inch hunting knife entered a reading room at Winchester Library and brutally stabbed a woman to death in a completely “random attack,” his lawyer said.

According to the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office, Jeffrey Yao, 23, entered Winchester Public Library Saturday and stabbed 22-year-old Deane Kenny Stryker 20 times, also slashing the arm of a 77-year-old man who attempted to intervene. After pleading not guilty to murder and armed assault with intent to murder, Yao’s lawyer claimed that Saturday’s incident was “very related to his [client’s] extreme mental illness,” Boston.com reported.

“There’s no indication that he knew the woman, just a completely random attack,” J.W. Carney Jr told reporters outside Woburn District Court Monday morning.

Carney also claimed that his “very troubled” client is well known to police. Despite this, he asserted that “this behavior can’t be predicted.”

Jeffrey Yao’s attorney J.W. Carney Jr. said the suspect has been struggling with mental illness.

Posted by The Winchester Star – Massachusetts on Monday, February 26, 2018

Alarmingly, a neighbor of Yao’s told the Boston Herald that he noticed Yao becoming extremely erratic in recent months and even told authorities that Yao “will kill somebody.”

“We warned them. We warned them. I can’t believe this,” the neighbor, who wished to remain anonymous, told the Herald.

“This whole thing could have been avoided, all of it.”

The neighbor also recalled how Yao attempted to bust down his door at 3 a.m. late last year.

“I said …’he will kill someone,’” the man claimed he told police. “He will kill the family or he will kill somebody.”

WBZ-TV reported that Yao is accused of repeatedly stabbing Stryker, a first-year student at the University of New England’s College of Osteopathic Medicine, in the head and torso. She was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Though Yao and Stryker both attended Winchester High School, it’s unclear whether the two knew each other. Police are currently investigating a motive for Saturday’s slaying.

Yao was ordered held without bail. He is due back in court on April 11.

[Featured Image: Jeffrey Yao/Winchester Police Department; Deane Kenny Stryker/WBZ-TV]