Professor Pleads Guilty to Brutal, 4-Hour Attack

Rie Hachiyanagi admits assault on Mount Holyoke colleague
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 5, 2020 12:00 PM CST
Updated Oct 18, 2021 9:20 AM CDT
Prof Brutally Attacks Her Colleague for 'Love': Police
Rie Hachiyanagi is seen in this screen capture of a YouTube video.   (YouTube)

Update: A former professor at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts has pleaded guilty to the vicious assault of a female colleague during a four-hour attack in the victim's home in 2019, reports the Greenfield Recorder. Prosecutors say Rie Hachiyanagi, 50, attacked her victim with weapons including a fire poker because of unrequited love, and initially set out to murder her. Hachiyanagi faces serious prison time when sentenced. Our original story from January 2020 follows:

An art professor has been arrested for allegedly attacking a colleague with a poker, garden shears, and a rock—over unrequited love, no less. Rie Hachiyanagi, 49, who teaches art at Mount Holyoke College, was charged with attempted murder Friday after the gruesome Christmas Eve incident, Fox News reports. The 60-year-old victim hasn't yet been named, but her story has emerged via the police report; both the victim and alleged assailant are female. Police say it all began after they responded to a 911 call at the victim's Leverett home just before 1am:

  • Blood on her: Police say when they arrived, Hachiyanagi was lying on the floor with the victim, who was "barely breathing, semi-conscious with a head injury." Hachiyanagi claimed she and the victim had made plans to see each other that evening, and when Hachiyanagi got there, the assault had already occurred, per WesternMass News. Hachiyanagi claimed she had blood on her because she was holding the victim.

  • Unrequited love: But at the hospital, the victim told police another story—that Hachiyanagi had showed up unannounced saying she "wanted to talk about her feelings," per the report. Hachiyanagi then attacked her, and when the victim asked why, Hachiyanagi apparently said "that she loved her for many years and she should have known." The victim then played along, claimed she had feelings for Hachiyanagi, and persuaded her to call 911, per the Daily Hampshire Gazette.
  • Injuries: The police report states that an attending physician "offered a preliminary opinion that (the victim) was presented with multiple broken bones in (her) nose and eye area, and numerous lacerations and puncture wounds on (her) head and face." But she is expected to survive, per the Greenfield Recorder.
  • On leave: Hachiyanagi, who is an art professor and chair of the college's art studio, has worked at the South Headley campus since 2004. She's now on administrative leave and isn't allowed on school premises, per MassLive.
  • 'Mortality': Hachiyanagi's Mount Holyoke page says she moved from Japan to the US as a high school student, and has since created installation/handmade paper works looking at "the correspondence between visual and textual languages, which is established upon the absurd conflicts among urges, necessities, and mortality."
  • Inappropriate: Student reviews of Hachiyanagi's class are generally positive, but one says that "sometimes she makes statements in class which don't seem appropriate."
  • The arrest: Police arrested her at about 7pm Christmas Day and say she had the victim's glasses, cellphone, and keys on her, per the Gazette. She was hit with multiple charges including armed assault with attempt to murder a person over the age of 60. She is being detained without bail.
(More weird crimes stories.)

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