Student accused of attempting to murder US college roommate with rat poison chemical
A Chinese student has been arrested and charged with attempting to murder his US college roommate with a chemical he ordered online.
- Mr Yang is accused of putting thallium in the milk and mouthwash of his roommate
- The roommate’s lawyer says he required “intensive medical treatment”
- The two students had been college roommates for four years
Yukai Yang, 22 will appear in court next month to face charges that he put thallium, a component of rat poison, in the milk and mouthwash of his roommate, Juwan Royal, who is African American, according to charging documents.
Mr Yang had already been under investigation for charges of ethnic intimidation for allegedly scrawling a racist message on Mr Royal’s desk and damaging his TV last spring, shortly after authorities believe he began trying to poison Mr Royal.
Northampton County district attorney John Morganelli said the alleged poisoning left Mr Royal, who had been Mr Yang’s roommate for four years, requiring “intensive medical treatment”.
“He experienced extreme pain in his lower extremities as well as burning and numbness,” he said.
Mr Yang is in the US attending Lehigh University in Pennsylvania on a student visa.
Blood tests confirmed Juwan Royal had ingested the nerve agent thallium. (Twitter: @dustyroyal_)
Lehigh University police said in charging documents that Mr Yang, a chemistry major, admitted to ordering thallium online, but insisted it was to poison himself if he did poorly in his exams.
Blood tests confirmed Mr Royal had ingested thallium, a nerve agent that also damages the lungs, heart, liver and kidney, after multiple unexplained incidents of illness in March.
Lehigh University spokeswoman Lori Friedman said the university cooperated closely with the district attorney but could not comment further because of federal student privacy law.
She did say that Mr Royal has not graduated.
Mr Yang was ordered held in Northampton County Prison under $US200,000 ($284,000) bail. He is due in court on January 3.
Mr Yang’s lawyer, Janet Jackson, could not be reached for comment.