Tenn. State Campus Mourns Slain Employee PDF Print E-mail
By Marshall A. Latimore -- Black College Wire   

Tennessee State University  employee Nathaniel Adefope was found stabbed and beaten to death on Sept. 7 shortly before 2 p.m. at the Frank A. Young Poultry plant on the main campus, where he was a supervisor for 27 years.

Adefope, 60, was discovered by Samuel Nahashon, associate dean for agriculture sciences, in a storage building at the facility, located at 3510 West Heiman Street directly behind the New Residence Complex apartments.

John Cross /TSU Media Relations
Nathaniel Adefope
"[Adefope's] body was discovered inside a storage building above the two hen/bird houses," said Kristin Mumford, spokesperson for the Metro Nashville Davidson County Police department, which is investigating the murder.

Adefope, who had been employed by the university since 1982, was also an alumnus of the university, having obtained both his bachelor's and master's degrees in agriculture, with concentrations in animal science.

The university community was notified of the incident in three consecutive text messages, dispatched by TSU Police. Messages were also put on the digital marquees at the north and south entrances of the campus.

Campus officials planned a memorial march for him immediately following the university-wide Opening Convocation on Tuesday, Sept. 15.

Following the Sept. 7 incident, president Melvin Johnson expressed his sorrow to Adefope's family in a phone call that evening.

The following morning, Sept. 9, he met with faculty and staff in the School of Agriculture and distributed a letter to faculty, staff and students Sept. 10.

"As I sit here trying to make sense of this heinous incident, I (am) saddened by the untimely death of this cheerful and gregarious individual," Johnson said in the letter. "Nathaniel was one of those individuals whom we loved, respected and cherished because he first loved us, his TSU family."

Metro Nashville Police and the Nashville Medical Examiner's office disclosed Adefope's cause of death on the morning of Sept. 8.

Adefope had died from multiple stab wounds and blunt force trauma, the autopsy's results revealed. However, a copy of the results were not made available to THE METER by the Medical Examiner's office at press time.

Mumford confirmed that a person of interest had been identified but still no suspects have been named. Additionally, potential murder weapons were still under investigation, she said.

On the afternoon of Friday, Sept. 11, eight years after the anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, it seemed that all was back to normal at the poultry research farm that Adefope worked for 27 years.

Darren Wright, a research assistant who worked with Adefope for 17 years, monitored the chickens he and Adefope would feed, clean and conduct experiments on.

Wright's face wore an air of sadness as he gave a candid recount of the events he remembered from the day Adefope was murdered.

Wright was the second to see Adefope's body, after Nahashon called him to the building to contact TSU Police.
"I'd just seen him before I left for lunch," Wright said. "Then, to see him laying out like that--all the blood. It was like something you would see in a movie."

Marshall A. Latimore is managing editor of The Meter, the Tennessee State University student newspaper, which originally published this article.

Posted Sep. 17, 2009
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