Purdue student who confessed to killing his roommate apologizes, says he was ‘blackmailed’

Purdue student who confessed to killing his roommate apologizes, says he was ‘blackmailed’Purdue student who confessed to killing his roommate apologizes, says he was ‘blackmailed’
Carl Samson
October 10, 2022
A Purdue University student who confessed to murdering his roommate last week has apologized for the crime and claimed he was blackmailed.
Ji Min Sha, 22, a junior studying cybersecurity at the university in West Lafayette, called 911 at 12:44 a.m. on Wednesday to report that he had killed his roommate, Varun Manish Chheda, with a knife.
Chheda, a 20-year-old senior majoring in data science, was found dead on a chair in their first-floor room at McCutcheon Hall. A preliminary autopsy determined that he died of multiple sharp-force traumatic injuries to the head and neck.
Sha was taken into custody after being found in the same room with blood on his body and clothing. A folding knife was also found on the floor.
Ji Min Sha. Image via Tippecanoe County Jail
Sha, who goes by the nickname “Jimmy,” is an international student from South Korea. At an initial hearing on Friday, he told reporters “I’m very sorry” and said “I was blackmailed,” without elaborating.
Purdue University Chief of Police Lesley Weite is convinced that the attack was unprovoked.
“I believe this was unprovoked and senseless,” Weite said. “Our hearts go out to the victim and his family and friends. I can’t even imagine what his family is going through.”
So far, police have confirmed that Chheda was gaming online with friends on the night he was killed. One of those friends, Andrew Wu, told WTHR that he suddenly heard screaming.
Another friend, Arunabh Sinha, told NBC News that while he was not playing with Chheda at the time, he was told of the attack and that his friends did not know what was going on.
Chheda, who was of Indian descent, was a National Merit Scholarship award winner and a national runner-up in the 2016 Science Bowl Competition. An obituary described him as an “inquisitive” person who “loved the sciences” and had a “contagious” passion for any subject matter.
In a letter, Purdue University President Mitch Daniels assured students that a “thorough investigation” is ongoing and that the Office of the Dean of Students, Residence Halls, and Counseling and Psychological Services are providing support to those who need or want their care.
Sha is scheduled to be formally charged on Thursday. He remains held without bond at Tippecanoe County Jail.
Featured Image via FOX59 News (left) and Facebook (right)
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