by Kyle Holland
On January 16, Biology Professor Kerry Holzworth, 70, came home to find that his Brookline home had been broken into and burglarized.
When the victim entered the home, the suspect fled and left behind a backpack. Inside the backpack were wire, duct tape, a receipt for these items, and a notebook labeled “Book of Destiny.” In this “Book of Destiny” were notes about Holzworth, various violent depictions, and a list of names for potential future victims. The backpack was tied to Mustafa Abas Al-Gasas, 23, a Pitt-Greensburg graduate and former student of Holzworth.
Al-Gasas was issued a “persona non grata,” or an unwelcome person, for all University of Pittsburgh campuses. He is not allowed to set foot on a Pitt campus.
“We have increased levels of patrol [on campus],” said Pitt-Greensburg Chief of Campus Police Kevin Gillilan. “Presence is more active and officers are on high alert. […] There is no threat to campus.”
The list of names in the “Book of Destiny” has not been released, but Chief Gillilan and President Smith were told by police that “anybody mentioned in evidence were all notified.”
The police complaint states that university police were contacted by an acquaintance of Al-Gasas and that Al-Gasas had approached him to provide an alibi. Al-Gasas also reportedly said that he was part of a group that had performed multiple burglaries and that he has killed before.
Al-Gasas is out on $20,000 bail and has a preliminary hearing scheduled for March 10.
“We’re proud of how safe the campus is,” said President Smith. “Our campus is beautiful, and it’s harder to keep a beautiful campus safe because people become lax. We don’t want that.”