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Purdue University student suspected in fatal stabbing claims he was ‘blackmailed’

The Purdue University student who allegedly killed his roommate in their dorm told reporters he had been “blackmailed” when asked for a motive in the crime.

Ji Min Sha, 22, made his first court appearance Friday before Tippecanoe County Magistrate Sarah Wyatt since being arrested for allegedly stabbing Varun Chheda to death.

“I was blackmailed,” the suspect said, without elaborating, WLFI reported.

When asked if he had anything to say to the victim’s family, Sha replied: “I am very sorry.”

Last week, Sha appeared to mutter “I love my family” as he was hauled to jail for allegedly killing Chheda, a senior data science major who the Tippecanoe County coroner said died of “multiple sharp-force traumatic injuries.”

Sha called police about 12:45 a.m. Wednesday to say he had fatally stabbed his roommate in their room at McCutcheon Hall, WLFI reported, citing a probable cause affidavit filed Friday.

Police found Chheda in a chair and Sha covered in what appeared to be blood, according to the outlet. They also observed what they believed to be blood splattered on the wall, along with a pool of blood and a folding knife on the floor.

Friends of Purdue University student Varun Manish Chheda recalled playing video games with him before he was murdered.
Courtesy of family
Mourners after slaying on Purdue student
Indiana police described the crime as an “unprovoked and senseless” murder.

The suspect allegedly admitted that the knife was his and that he had used it to kill his roommate.

On Friday, Wyatt granted Tippecanoe County Deputy Prosecutor Timothy Kern’s motion for a 72-hour continuance. Prosecutors have until Thursday to file the charges against Sha, an international student from South Korea and a cybersecurity major.

Chheda’s friends have said they had been gaming with the victim when they suddenly heard him screaming.

Indiana police described the crime as an “unprovoked and senseless” murder.

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