Boyfriend Sentenced in Collegian's Slaying in NYC

By: JENNIFER PELTZ AP Email
By: JENNIFER PELTZ AP Email

NEW YORK (AP) - A slain college student's parents bared their grief Wednesday to the embittered boyfriend who killed her, saying she invested love and compassion in a man bent on controlling her.

Boitumelo McCallum's killer, Michael Cordero, was sentenced to 25 years in prison, as promised when he pleaded guilty last month to manslaughter. He said he would spend the rest of his life "begging for forgiveness from God" for killing the South African-born student.

McCallum, 20, and Cordero, now 25, had an on-again, off-again relationship that had hit an ugly point, her friends and family have said. Her father, Robert, said he told Cordero to get out of his daughter's life three weeks before her August 2007 death.

"You made the relationship about power and domination, rather than love and compassion," he told Cordero Wednesday.

Her mother, Teboho Moja, said in a statement read by a prosecutor that her daughter was killed because "she made a wrong choice of whom to share her love with." Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. called the case a reminder of "the risks of physical and emotional abuse."

Moja, who has served as an education policy analyst in South Africa, is an education professor at New York University. Robert McCallum teaches art education there.

Boitumelo (pronounced BOY'-toh-meh-loh) McCallum, known as Tumi,
lived in South Africa until her teens. She later became a student at Mills College in Oakland, Calif.

She was on a summer break, working at a New York arts camp run by her father, when Cordero strangled her in her mother's NYU faculty apartment. Cordero slit his wrists on a Manhattan rooftop as detectives looked for him in the days after the slaying.

On Wednesday, he appeared to sob at one point as he listened to the parents' statements.

"I know that this means nothing, but I want to let you know that I deal with this every day," he said later in a halting voice, turning to face his victim's family in the courtroom audience.

Robert McCallum said he couldn't forgive Cordero but challenged him to think ahead to his life after his eventual release from prison.

"What contributions are you going to make to uphold civil society?" McCallum asked.


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