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Murder victim involved with assistant professor
Emerging details on the murder of U of I student Katy Benoit reveal new truths.
Published 8/25/2011
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New information has emerged in the death of Katy Benoit, the 22-year-old University of Idaho psychology graduate student allegedly murdered by former assistant professor of psychology Ernesto A. Bustamante, 31.

An affidavit filed by Sergeant Bruce Fager of the City of Moscow reports Benoit had been in a sexual relationship with Bustamante, which apparently ended in March of this year. She had evidently claimed that Bustamante had pointed a handgun at her on several occasions, at one point putting the gun in her mouth. Benoit filed a complaint against Bustamante with the UI in June. The professor resigned last Friday.

"The safety of our campus community is paramount," UI President M. Duane Nellis said in a statement Tuesday. "We do not ignore or shortchange safety concerns once aware of them. We endeavor to support our community members to the fullest extent they are willing to be guided."

According to the documents, Detective Rodney Wolverton of Moscow interviewed Rowdy J. Hope, a psychology graduate student at UI who considered himself a friend of Bustamante. Hope told police Bustamante had several handguns and a disorder involving multiple personalities. The personalities include "a psychopathic killer" and "the beast," nicknames Bustamante had allegedly given to his identities.

Officers responded to a report of shots fired at 112 South Lilly St. in Moscow, the home of Benoit and her two roommates, Meghan Walker-Smith and Emma Gregory, according to the document. Benoit's roommates had been inside baking cookies when they heard shots from outside. Gregory went to investigate. She found Benoit on the ground and called 911.

When officers found Bustamante at the Best Western University Inn, he had apparently shot himself.

According to a statement released by a family spokesman, Benoit felt "deeply alarmed" by Bustamante’s behavior and rhetoric.

"Our family had grave concerns when we heard that the university may have received complaints from other students about Bustamante, and that Katy was the only one willing to sign her name to a complaint,” the statement reads. “We hope that the university will be forthcoming in disclosing everything that went on this past summer in response to Bustamante's behavior toward Katy and others, including the university's involvement."

A candlelight vigil will be held in memory of Benoit at 7 p.m. Thursday at Friendship Square in Moscow.

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