Geneseo community mourns after unexpected deaths

Seniors Kelsey Annese and Matthew Hutchinson were killed in the early morning of Jan. 17 after Colin Kingston—a former Geneseo student who was enrolled as recently as spring 2013—broke into Annese’s home at 18 Wadsworth St. Kingston fatally stabbed Annese and Hutchinson before taking his own life. Since then, the college has responded with remembrance events and walk-in counseling sessions. “The Livingston County 911 Center received a call at approximately six in the morning from a father here in Geneseo—Mr. Kingston [Colin Kingston’s father],” Geneseo Police Department Public Information Officer Jeffrey Szczensiak said in a press conference on Jan. 18. “Mr. Kingston indicated to the 911 dispatcher that he had apparently received a call from his son—Colin Kingston—at which time he apparently indicated that he had brought harm to his ex-girlfriend—Miss Annese.”

According to Szczensiak, Kingston arrived at Annese’s residence in Geneseo between 5:30 a.m. and 6:21 a.m. with a knife he had purchased beforehand and found “Hutchinson in the company of Miss Annese.” Szczensiak added that there was no apparent sign of a struggle and that all three individuals were dead upon police arrival. Annese was a point guard and co-captain on the Geneseo women’s basketball team and Hutchinson was a defenseman for the Ice Knights.

After Szczensiak spoke, President Denise Battles read a prepared statement. “We realize that all of those in our campus community will experience this tragedy differently,” she said. “The Geneseo we know is a strong community and, together, will pull together in dealing with the aftermath of this tragedy.”

In response to the double-murder-suicide, the college held campus-wide events, which will culminate with a “Pack the Ira” event on Friday Jan. 29 for the Ice Knights’ hockey game against SUNY Morrisville at 7 p.m. Other events included men’s and women’s basketball and Ice Knights games occurring from Thursday Jan. 21–Tuesday Jan. 26.

Throughout the slate of events, tables have been set up in the MacVittie College Union for members of the college community to write supportive messages for the families and teammates of Annese and Hutchinson.

Chief of University Police Thomas Kilcullen emphasized the importance of the healing process after an event like this. “The village police are focusing on the healing process in their community and that is what we are doing here,” he said. Kilcullen also noted that UPD brought in officers from the University at Buffalo and Alfred State University as extra support.

“When something like this happens, anxiety will run high,” he said. “When that occurs, the police department has to respond and be highly visible.”

Opportunities for support for students, faculty and staff have also increased. “The counselors in Lauderdale [Center for Student Health & Counseling] offered counseling every day last week—and I know that was taken advantage of and even into this week, I know students are coming in and scheduling appointments in specific reaction to what happened [on Jan. 17],” Clinical Director for South Village Counseling Services Dr. Beth Cholette said. Cholette added that sessions specifically for student athletes and faculty and staff were held during All-College Hour on Wednesday Jan. 27.

Cholette also emphasized that Kingston’s behavior indicated that “something was wrong” with his mental health. “We know that he and Kelsey were dating and that he was distraught. But whatever the additional circumstances were, we don’t know. This is not a normal response to a relationship breakup,” she said. “I’ve seen reports in the media that on Saturday night, he made some suicidal statements. If that is true, maybe there could have been some intervention somewhere along the way. And that’s the part that, unfortunately, is overlooked in this: that it also involved a suicide.”

Cholette added that Lauderdale is still available as a mental health resource for students affected by the events or otherwise. “If students are really reluctant to get into counseling, to take a free, anonymous screening, sometimes, that’s a way,” she said. “It might be that the important need for services might be one thing that helps to get the message out; the fact that people are available right as the tragedy happened, maybe that will help students be more aware.”

News editor Emma Bixler contributed reporting to this article.