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Purdue student charged with murder in brutal stabbing of his roommate

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A Purdue University student was charged last week with a fatal murder of his roommate in their college dorm on the West Lafayette, Indiana campus.

At a hearing Thursday, the prosecution formally charged Ji Min Sha, 22, with the murder of Varun Manish Chheda, 20, an Indianapolis senior who was in his third year of college and graduated early.

Prosecutors requested that Sha be held without bond.

Sha, a junior cybersecurity major and international student from South Korea, called 911 around 12:44 a.m. on Oct. 5 to alert police about Chheda’s death.

When officers arrived at their first-floor room in McCutcheon Hall, they found Chheda, who studied data science, in a chair with “multiple stab wounds and lacerations” to his head and neck, according to a likely statement released days after the affidavit. submitted. kill.

There were “blood spatters on the wall, a pool of blood on the floor and a pocketknife on the floor,” the document said.

Sha admitted the knife was his and confessed to the murder to officers at the scene, according to the affidavit.

It is still unclear what motivated Sha to attack Chheda. At a preliminary hearing last week, Sha told reporters, “I have been blackmailed” before entering a courtroom at the Tippecanoe County Jail where he was being held.

He also said he wanted the victim’s family to know, “I’m very sorry.”

Purdue University Police Chief Lesley Wiete called the horrific attack “unprovoked and senseless” at a news conference hours after the murder.

In Indiana, a murder conviction is punishable by the death penalty, life imprisonment with no chance of parole, or between 45 and 65 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Chheda was gaming and talking to friends online when they suddenly heard screaming, which they believed was the attack, Arunabh Sinha, a childhood friend of Chheda, told NBC News. Sinha did not play with his friends that night, but they told him that they had heard the attack and did not know what was happening. They woke up Wednesday morning to the news of Chheda’s death.

Andrew Wu, another childhood friend of Chheda’s, said his death “came completely out of the blue” and that he never spoke about his roommate.

In the wake of Chheda’s death, several students living at McCutcheon Hall expressed concern that they would not be made aware of the murder until hours later. Police said the school had not issued a warning to the students because Sha was in custody within minutes of the 911 call.

A memorial and visit for Chheda was held in his hometown of Indianapolis last weekend.

A obituary for Chheda remembered him as a bright student who “loved the sciences” and whose “passion for every subject was contagious.”

“His parents were happiest and blessed to have him as a son. He was the most caring and protective brother who pulled many tricks and was his sister’s greatest champion,” the obituary said.

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