NORMAN — An Ohio man who threatened the lives of at least two former University of Oklahoma student-athletes has been sentenced to five years in state prison and a year in Cleveland County jail.
Naasik Ferdous, who briefly attended OU before he was expelled in January 2011 after he was accused of stalking female athletes and lying on his application, has been jailed in Norman since his arrest in the fall.
In October, Ferdous, 22, was arrested by OU Police Department detectives after he drove to Norman with the intent of killing Kelsey Devonshire, who was the women's soccer team goalie at the time.
Ferdous was sentenced Monday by a judge in Cleveland County. He had pleaded no contest in May.
Court records show Ferdous called OU police Oct. 16 and told them he was driving from the Overland Park, Kan., area, with purpose of killing Devonshire, whom he blamed for his expulsion from OU. The previous day, he had taken his mother's car and credit cards and driven to Kansas from his home in Ohio.
While in Kansas, Ferdous had left a letter at the family home of former OU gymnast Natalie Ratcliff. The letter contained threats against Devonshire.
Ferdous, who never explained why he dropped the letter off at Ratcliff's family home, was arrested Oct. 17 after he had breakfast at the OU student union and notified police that he was in town, records show.
During interviews with state Corrections Department investigators, Ferdous said the decision to drive to Norman from Ohio — a 900-mile trip — was triggered by his poor performance on exams at the University of Cincinnati.
“Back in October of 2012, I wanted to attend OU's medical school and needed to have a good GPA,” Ferdous wrote in a statement to investigators. “However, the week prior to getting arrested, I did poorly on my physics and organic chemistry exams.
“I got upset and felt my reason for no longer being an undergraduate OU student was (Devonshire's) fault.”
Devonshire filed an emergency protective order against Ferdous the day before he arrived on the OU campus, describing the stalking behavior she and other teammates had dealt with since at least last year.
Another former OU student-athlete, gymnast Sara Stone, filed a protective order on the same day for similar reasons.
In the protective order, Devonshire wrote that Ferdous began stalking her after he'd done the same to other players on the team.
“At first it was just a friend request on Facebook, then a message saying he wanted to meet me because he was a huge fan,” she wrote. “Next thing I knew he was walking around the OU campus asking other athletes if they knew where to find me.”
Devonshire also claims in the order that Ferdous told people on campus that he was her boyfriend “and that he loved me.”
Ferdous also wrote letters to Devonshire's family and was pulled off a flight at the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport in January 2011 after fellow passengers became alarmed at how he was talking about Devonshire.
History of harassment
Court records show that Ferdous has a long history of “harassing female students,” some instances dating back to middle school.
Once he graduated from a South Carolina high school in June 2009, Ferdous would attend three colleges before transferring to OU in January 2011.
Ferdous attended the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta for one semester in the fall of 2009. While there, his academic record indicates that he was cited for “copying answers (and) accusations of stealing,” court records show.
He next transferred to Greenville Technical College in northwest South Carolina where he was suspended “in March 2010 for sending inappropriate electronic mail to female students, then moving on to faculty and staff,” a Corrections Department investigator wrote in a pre-sentence report filed in Cleveland County District Court.
Before coming to OU, Ferdous attended Spartanburg Community College in South Carolina.
After being expelled from OU, Ferdous went on to the University of Cincinnati.
“Police reports received from the University of Cincinnati Police Division reveal that Ferdous had been sending inappropriate electronic mail to students and noted his behavior appeared to be escalating despite law enforcement contact,” the Corrections Department investigator wrote in her report.
An attorney representing Ferdous wrote in a recent court filing that his client has been diagnosed as having Asperger's syndrome.
Asperger's syndrome is typically defined as a developmental disorder that hinders an individual's ability to socialize, making effective communication more difficult.