College Student Charged With Murder After Dorm Room Strangling

( – Shortly before 1am on Saturday February 24, 18-year-old Josiah Kilman was found unresponsive in his dorm room at the private Christian college of Campbellsville University in Campbellsville, Kentucky. Responding to the incident, the college called in local law enforcement and put the campus on lockdown, asking students to shelter in place and secure their vehicles and residences. At the hospital, Kilman was pronounced dead of asphyxia by means of manual strangulation.

A warrant was issued for 21-year-old Charles E. Escalara, who was also a student at Campbellsville University. Local law enforcement distributed a still from security footage from a nearby Lowe’s home improvement store. Just after 5 pm they received a report of a suspicious man in a barn near the county line, and apprehended Escalara there without incident. The college then announced the arrest and the end of the lockdown on social media.

Kilman was a freshman and a member of the wrestling team. Escalara had been on the team during the 2021-2022 school year. Currently there is no known motive for the murder, and it is not clear if the two men knew each other. Escalera is being held without bail at Taylor County Detention Center. He is being charged with one count of murder and one count of second-degree burglary. The investigation is still ongoing.

Joseph Hopkins, the president of Campbellsville University, spoke of the sorrow and pain of Kilman’s teammates over his death during a prayer and healing service held on Sunday. At an unrelated event on Monday Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear referenced Kilman’s death and commented that work needs to be done so that every Kentuckian can feel secure and safe. Kilman was from Columbia Falls, Montana, and his family has started a GoFundMe to cover the costs of his return home and his funeral arrangements. The family also released a public statement about him referencing his deep devotion to his faith, calling him an example of “compassion, kindness and love”.

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