Testimony Prior to al-Zahrani Murder Trial

By WBNG News

January 7, 2011 Updated Jan 7, 2011 at 7:12 PM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Testimony in the murder trial of Abdusalam al-Zahrani, 45, was heard in Broome County Court prior the February proceedings.

al-Zahrani is the Saudi man accused of stabbing a Binghamton University professor to death in 2009.

A witness for the defense, John Roby, 32, will be out of the state next month, which is why his testimony is being recorded for a jury in advance to al-Zahrani's February trial.

Roby was a colleague of al-Zahrani and had a few classes together.

On stand Friday morning in Broome County Court, he describes their relationship as cordial and friendly.

During part of 2009, al-Zahrani went of of state for research.

When he returned in September that year, Roby says, "al-Zahrani seemed distracted, less friendly, cold and withdrawn."

But he was not aware of issues in al-Zahrani's personal life and had never known al-Zahrani to be threatening.

al-Zahrani's accused of intentionally stabbing Binghamton University professor, Richard Antoun, on campus in December, 2009.

Antoun later died from his wounds.

al-Zahrani is charged with second degree murder

The defense says it plans on using al-Zahrani's psychiatric condition as its defense.

On Monday, Forensic Pathologist, Dr. James Terzian, is also expected to give his testimony.

He will also be out of state at the time of the trial, which is slated to begin February 22, 2011.

Leigh Dana, WBNG TV Action News.