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Davis, California

Thursday, May 23, 2024

UC Davis alumna fatally stabbed in Washington D.C.

D.C. Police Department arrests suspect, court hearing to come Sept. 12

Margery Magill, a UC Davis alumna from the class of 2015, was fatally stabbed on Aug. 27 in Washington D.C. while walking a dog. Police were able to arrest the suspect and described the alleged attack as random, without any clear motive.

Police Chief Peter Newsham discussed how the event played out, according to a video the D.C. Police Department posted on Twitter.

 “A little after 8:45 PM, members of the fourth district were dispatched to the 400 block of Irving Street, northwest for the report of a woman down,” Newsham said. “When officers arrived, they found 27-year-old Margery Magill from northwest D.C. suffering from multiple stab wounds. She was brought to a local hospital where she was later pronounced dead.”

Currently, only one suspect, Eliyas Aregahegne, is known to have been involved in the stabbing.

“We have not recovered any information to suggest that Margery knew or had any association with that suspect,” Newsham said. “We do not have any information that it was a robbery or an attempt of sexual assault. Detectives located the suspect…a follow-up search warrant was obtained and additional evidence was recovered. The suspect was transported to the Metropolitan Police Department Homicide Branch for questioning, sufficient probable cause was established and 24-year-old Eliyas Aregahegne from Northwest D.C was arrested for first-degree murder.”

The court case is now ongoing. The next hearing for Aregahegne will be held on Sept. 12. In a preliminary hearing, Aregahegne initially stated that he had a finger injury, evading the possibility that he stabbed Magill. Court documents mentioned that his statements were inconsistent.

According to court documents, the “defendant then placed himself on scene and explained that a dark force was speaking to him from inside of his head… multiple times throughout the interview, the defendant denied the stabbing.”

While the court hearings will be ongoing, faculty at UC Davis are reminiscent of Magill’s time as a student. Magill worked at UC Davis’ Study Abroad department and graduated with a major in international agricultural development. She went on to receive a master’s degree in international relations.

Blake Cooper, the assistant director of communications in the Global Affairs department, hired Magill when she was a student at UC Davis.

“Margery worked for UC Davis Study Abroad for two wonderful years and contributed so much to our office,” Cooper said via email. “She brought incredible energy and a passion for global education that was inspiring to those of us who worked with her every day.”

Jenavieve Hatch, a former program coordinator and advisor for UC Davis’ quarter abroad program, was also part of the hiring panel when Magill applied.

“I remember her application, and I remember interviewing her with a handful of other colleagues — she was just insanely impressive,” Hatch said. “She was a really accomplished, smart person. She was in that cohort of student assistants, and she had done some cool international education so we were excited to have her on the team.”

While working at the study abroad program, Magill appeared in a video project encouraging students to take a chance at exploring a different country. Cooper emphasized how much Magill contributed to the program and how the team was fortunate to have had her in their cohort of student assistants.

“We were lucky to have Margery on our team for as long as we did and always looked forward to hearing from her after she left UC Davis,” Cooper said via email. “Losing her in such a tragic way has been extremely difficult for the staff in our office who worked with Margery. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family and all who knew her.”

Hatch also elaborated on Magill’s energy while she was a student assistant for the study abroad program.

    “Her work ethic was pretty amazing,” Hatch said. “There’s a reason we hired her, she was really active and enthusiastic. She really liked international education — she was excited about the job. I remember she would always say yes to everything, [and] she was always helpful.”

Hatch heard the news of Magill’s death after a friend messaged her on Facebook. She said she felt sheer shock when she first heard the news.

“It was pretty surreal, I think it was such a senseless and horrible thing,” Hatch said. “It’s one of those things you read about on the news, and you think that must be hard for that person’s family and friends. When it happens to someone you know, then you don’t really know how to come to terms with it because it’s just so wild and senseless.”

Cooper reacted in shock as well, remembering how Magill stood out to him as a student. 

“My reaction was probably similar to others who knew her: I was shocked and devastated,” Cooper said via email. “Margery was one of the most energetic and passionate students I have had the pleasure of supervising.”

Written by: Stella Tran — city@theaggie.org


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