LOWER OXFORD – The sister of a University of Lincoln student who was allegedly involved in an altercation in a dormitory with a group of men has been charged with fatally stabbing a senior at the South County school. Chester, authorities said Thursday.
Nydira Smith, 39, of Philadelphia, was arrested on Wednesday and charged with stabbing three students, including the deceased, after a fight broke out in a dormitory at Lower Oxford University.
Jawine Evans, a 21-year-old Philadelphia student nearing graduation from the historically black college, was pronounced dead at the scene by first responders after being stabbed in the right side of the neck, police say. He was found in a grassy area outside the dorm after a trail of blood.
Two other men, identified as Eric Dickerson and Clifton Walker, both 22 and both residents of the dorm where the incident took place, were also stabbed – Dickerson in the upper right arm and Walker in the back . Both were treated at Christiana Hospital in Delaware the night of the incident and released.
Smith is charged with first and third degree murder, possession of an instrument of a crime, aggravated assault and other related charges. She was taken to Chester County Jail after being brought before Magistrate District Judge Marian Vito of West Chester. She is being held without bond due to the nature of the charges.
District Attorney Deb Ryan appeared at a school news conference Thursday morning with Lincoln officials and members of Chester County Detectives to announce the arrest and provide details of the investigation.
“This is a parent’s worst nightmare,” she said in a statement. “This senseless and tragic incident is devastating not only for the families of the victims, but for the entire Lincoln University community – students, staff and parents – who believed their college campus was a safe place.
“We send our deepest condolences to the families and loved ones affected by this,” Ryan said. “My office will prosecute the defendant to the fullest extent permitted by law to bring justice to Jawine Evans’ family, other victims and Lincoln University.”
It is believed to be the first school homicide in more than two decades.
University Police Chief Marc Partee said: “The University of Lincoln is grateful for the assistance provided by all of our law enforcement partners in the region in responding to this horrific incident. We are especially grateful to Chester County detectives, who worked seamlessly with us from the onset of the tragedy to provide the resources, direction, energy and support needed to hold those responsible accountable for their actions.
Smith was identified in an affidavit of arrest as the sister of Malik Stevens, a University of Lincoln student involved in the fight. He has not been charged in the case.
Bruce Castor, the former Montgomery County district attorney who represents the family as a civil attorney, said investigators have kept Evans’ family informed of their progress, “every step of the way, showing extreme professionalism and empathy even when those close to Jawine mourn his loss.”
In an email, Castor quoted Beverly Evans, the victim’s mother, as saying that she and her husband “are devastated by the loss of our beloved son, Jawine.
“We thought he would be safe on the campus of the University of Lincoln, and we never imagined that such a terrible thing could happen there,” she said. “We are stunned by the laxity of university security, but extremely grateful to Chester County law enforcement for catching Jawine’s killer and comments from Ryan showing she is taking a public stance. firm to bring his killer to justice.”
In his annual report to the US Department of Education, Lincoln reported that there were 30 serious crimes committed on campus from 2018 to 2020 – 12 rapes, seven robberies, 15 assaults and six burglaries. Like other county campuses, non-students can access the school grounds, but it’s unclear what security measures are in place for the dorms — whether non-residents can come and go without security badges , or whether they can be admitted by residents. The criminal complaint in Smith’s case does not say how she got into the dorm where the stabbings took place.
According to Det. John DiBattista III’s criminal complaint, on February 16, Lincoln police were called to the Thurgood Marshall Living and Learning Center at 9:14 p.m. to a report of a fight. When the police arrived, they found Evans outside the dorm with a knife wound to his neck, and Dickerson and Walker injured inside the dorm.
EMS and Oxford Fire Company paramedics responded to the scene, where they pronounced Evans dead. The other two victims were taken to Christiana Hospital for treatment.
The stabbing was determined to have occurred in the first floor hallway of the south wing of the dormitory, which had blood splatter on the floor, walls and doors. Bloody footprints led to the third floor, where one of the victims lived.
Investigators recovered a video showing the altercation in which the stabbing occurred, after consulting with the school’s director of student success, Lyndsay Raymond, who said it was circulated on social networks in the time following the fight.
In the video, Smith is seen plunging a knife into Evans’ neck, after which Evans staggers backwards with traumatic arterial bleeding from the neck. Evans is heard shouting, “She stabbed me” and clutching the right side of his neck. She could also be seen making stabbing motions towards the two surviving victims. The video shows at least six other students in danger of being stabbed.
A dorm resident provided investigators with two other videos she took of the scene outside a first-floor dorm that showed the incident. Several participants were identified in the fight, including Stevens.
A police log check from that night showed that a woman called Lincoln police around 7:30 p.m. on the evening of the assault. She said there was a group of men threatening her brother in her dorm, upset because her roommate allegedly stole something from them. The caller, whose phone number was later connected to Smith, said “family is coming” to sort out the situation.
Investigators have recovered security footage from the University of Lincoln that shows a maroon Infiniti registered to Smith entering campus at 9:07 p.m. — just before the stabbing — and leaving at 9:22 p.m. Further investigation revealed the Infiniti was traveling east to Upper Chichester, Delaware at 10:05 p.m.
In videos of students taken and reviewed by detectives, the woman who stabbed the three men could be seen wearing a white or gray sweatshirt with yellow lettering and a yellow hat, according to the complaint. She was accompanied by another woman who wore a checkered shirt and a headscarf. This person has not been identified.
Philadelphia police located the Infiniti in the 7100 block of Ardleigh Street in Philadelphia on February 17 and placed it under surveillance. On the same day, police executed a search warrant at a residence on Ardleigh Street identified as Smith’s home. Inside, they found bloodstained clothing matching the sweatshirt and hat Smith was seen on video of during the murder.
Detectives also recovered a set of knives from her home which was missing one knife.
Finally, medical documents from Chestnut Hill Hospital were recovered indicating that the accused sought treatment for a laceration on her hand.
Investigators searched the Infiniti on February 18, 2022 and found human blood inside the car.
The preliminary hearing is scheduled for March 8, 2022, before Judicial District Judge Scott Massey. Assistant District Attorney Alyssa Amoroso is the designated prosecutor. No attorney is listed for Smith on the court records.
Anyone with information regarding this investigation is asked to contact DiBattista at 610-344-6866.
To contact editor Michael P. Rellahan, call 610-696-1544.