Johns Hopkins Students Indicted in Shanty BurningJANE E. ALLEN , Associated Press
May. 29, 1986 10:25 PM ET
BALTIMORE (AP) _ Three Johns Hopkins University undergraduates were indicted Thursday on charges of arson, conspiracy and assault with intent to murder in the firebombing of a campus shanty erected as protest against apartheid.
Kurt L. Schmoke, state's attorney for Baltimore, said the three students knew the shanty was occupied at the time, and that two of them fled the state Saturday.
''They ran immediately. They saw what that fire did,'' Schmoke said.
A graduate student in the shanty sustained first- and second-degree burns.
Those indicted were: Russell Howard Abrams, 20, of Riverdale, N.Y.; Michael Moffa, 19, of Bellmore, N.Y.; and Richard Hoheb, 22, of Holmdel, N.J., all members of the Delta Upsilon Fraternity.
If convicted, each could face 30 years imprisonment, Schmoke said. All will be arraigned June 25.
Abrams, who had been arrested, ''has exercised his right to remain silent,'' Schmoke said. ''The other two gentlemen involved left after the incident. Our information (indicates) they will return voluntarily and will surrender themselves early next week.''
Kevin Archer was burned when the shanty was ignited with gasoline early Saturday. Two other graduate students in the shanty, Patrick Bond and Jane Grey, escaped injury.
Schmoke said a city grand jury heard testimony from the three apartheid protesters as well as fraternity members. He said it obtained evidence that the defendants planned the shanty raid, complete with ''a division of labor - who would toss the gas, who would toss the match.''
Abrams is accused of tossing the match, and Moffett of procuring the gas.
Schmoke said the three had discussed the plan with fraternity brothers.
''The three men, Hoheb, Moffa and Abrams, decided they were going to burn the shanties and in fact had a reconnaissance mission. Some information indicates they made a little map to get back through the woods so they wouldn't be detected,'' he said.
Some fraternity members tried to dissuade them, but they got some plastic cups from a convenience store and proceeded to the shanties.
The anti-apartheid group was protesting the university's investments in companies doing business in South Africa. Johns Hopkins has agreed to divest its holdings in those companies that haven't signed the so-called Sullivan Principles aimed at assuring equal opportunity for blacks.
After hearing a splashing sound, coalition members noticed ''this huge fireball'' and some gave chase to the suspects, catching Abrams, Schmoke said.
Estelle Fishbein, general counsel for Johns Hopkins, confirmed that Hoheb, the only senior in the group, would not graduate with his class Friday.
All three students were suspended pending the outcome of the university's own investigation, she said.
University President Steven Muller said earlier in the week that the university had initiated its own investigation of ''this ugly outrage.''