Crime & Courts

Defendant in killing of Wichita State student pleads guilty

Wichita police investigate the death of Rayan Ibrahim Baba in the parking lot of the Fairmount Towers dormitory on Wichita State’s campus. (Aug. 8, 2015)
Wichita police investigate the death of Rayan Ibrahim Baba in the parking lot of the Fairmount Towers dormitory on Wichita State’s campus. (Aug. 8, 2015) File photo

One of the two people accused of killing a Wichita State University student in the parking lot of Fairmount Towers last August pleaded guilty Thursday to second-degree murder in the case.

Isaiah Copridge, 23, waived his preliminary hearing and pleaded guilty to killing Rayan Ibrahim Baba on Aug. 8. He also pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery.

His co-defendant, Eboni Fingal, later waived her preliminary hearing and entered a “not guilty” plea in the case. Sedgwick County District Judge Bruce Brown set her jury trial for Feb. 16.

As part of a plea agreement, prosecutors are recommending that Copridge’s murder and robbery sentences run concurrently, or at the same time. Copridge could be sentenced to as many as 653 months — or more than 54 years — in prison for the murder conviction.

Copridge, wearing a forest green jail jumpsuit, handcuffs and leg chains, answered “Yes, sir,” and “No, sir,” to a series of questions from Brown through the course of the hearing. His sentencing has been set for Feb. 18.

A court document released last month stated Baba had contacted Fingal about 30 minutes before his death about sexual services she had advertised online.

Baba was found in the parking lot of Fairmount Towers at about 6:30 a.m. Aug. 8 with multiple gunshot wounds, according to a probable cause affidavit filed in the case. Baba was a 23-year-old undergraduate student from Saudi Arabia.

WSU officials have said he was not enrolled for the fall 2015 semester and was preparing to move out of Fairmount Towers when he was shot. The homicide was the first on the WSU campus since 1993.

Police were able to track cellphone locations from the suspects, which, along with surveillance video, pinpointed Fingal, Copridge and Baba together in the dormitory parking lot around 5:30 that morning, according to the affidavit.

At the time of the shooting, police said someone driving to work called 911 after seeing Baba’s body in the parking lot. He was pronounced dead at Wesley Medical Center around 7 a.m.

Copridge will be sentenced by Judge Ben Burgess. Brown told Copridge that Burgess is not legally bound to the sentence recommended by the Sedgwick County District Attorney’s Office as part of the plea agreement.

Stan Finger: 316-268-6437, @StanFinger

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