Mass. Professor Allegedly Tried to Beat Colleague to Death Because 'Love' Was Unrequited

A Mount Holyoke College professor is facing an attempted murder charge after allegedly beating a colleague she “loved” who didn’t feel the same way about her, say authorities.

Art professor Rie Hachiyanagi, 48, of South Hadley, was arrested on Dec. 24, hours after she allegedly attacked her colleague at her home in Leverett, Northwestern District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Mary Carey confirms to PEOPLE.

At her arraignment at Orange District Court Friday, Hachiyanagi was charged with armed assault with attempt to murder a person over the age of 60, three counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, one count of mayhem and one count of armed assault in a dwelling, the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office says.

She entered a plea of not guilty.

She was ordered held without bail until her next hearing on Feb. 4.

Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts | Getty
Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts | Getty

The alleged crime came to light shortly after midnight on Dec. 24 when Hachiyanagi called 911 to say another Mount Holyoke professor — who has not been publicly identified — had been attacked, the Daily Hampshire Gazette reports.

Hachiyanagi allegedly said she found the victim “in a pool of blood” and “barely breathing, semi-conscious and with a head injury,” according to a state police report obtained by the Daily Hampshire Gazette.

She allegedly said she saw signs of a struggle but police found no signs of an intruder, the Daily Hampshire Gazette reports.

Hachiyanagi allegedly told police she was covered in blood because she had been holding her friend, local station WWLP reports.

The victim was rushed to a local hospital with broken bones in her nose and eye area and numerous lacerations and puncture wounds on her head and face, the Crime Scene Services’ attending physician said at the time, according to the state police report.

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At the hospital, the terrified victim told police that Hachiyanagi allegedly showed up unannounced at her home on the evening of Dec. 23 saying she wanted to “talk about her feelings,” the police report says.

Moments later, Hachiyanagi allegedly struck the woman — whom she has known for 14 years — with “multiple implements” including “fists, rocks, garden clippers, and a fire poker,” the report says.

The woman said she “thought she was going to die at the hands of Hachiyanagi,” the report says.

When the victim asked Hachiyanagi why she was attacking her, Hachiyanagi allegedly replied “that she loved her for many years and she should have known,” the report says.

The victim allegedly stopped the attacks by “playing along” with Hachiyanagi and saying she had the same feelings, telling her to call 911, the report says.

When officers arrested Hachiyanagi at her home on Dec. 24, they found her in possession of the victim’s keys, cell phone and glasses, the Daily Hampshire Gazette reports.

The victim is expected to survive, the district attorney’s office says.

Besides being an art professor, Hachiyanagi is also the Chair of the Art Studio at Mount Holyoke, where she’s worked since 2004, according to her college web page.

Hachiyanagi “has been placed on administrative leave from the college and is not permitted on our campus pending further review of the incident,” College President Sonya Stephens wrote in an email sent to the Mount Holyoke community on Jan. 3, The Mount Holyoke News reports.

Hachiyanagi remains held at the Franklin County House of Correction. It is unclear whether she has retained an attorney who can speak on her behalf. She did not return emails asking for comment.