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Judge grants mental health evaluations for suspect in Purdue dorm homicide

Ji Sha in court 101322.JPG
Posted at 10:36 AM, Dec 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-16 06:24:08-05

WEST LAFAYETTE — Ji Min Sha, the former Purdue student charged with murder in connection with the death of his roommate Varun Chheda was in court Thursday morning.

The Tippecanoe County judge ruled that two court-appointed psychiatrists will evaluate Sha prior to trial.

A motion was filed in November asking to court to consider Sha's competency in the case against him, according to online court records.

"If they are declared to be incompetent, there are going to be multiple checks and balances on that to make sure this person is safe to be in the community. And that may or may not ever happen," criminal defense attorney Ben Jaffe told WRTV. "It's a touchy subject. People should not have the idea that people get away with this because they claim insanity or something. It is not that easy."

Sha is being held without bond in the murder of Varun Manish Chheda, who officials have said was attacked without provocation.

If convicted of murder, Sha could face 45-65 years in prison.

Sha, an international student from Korea, reported Chheda's death to police himself shortly after he stabbed him to death, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Purdue University police found Chheda dead shortly after 12:44 a.m. Oct. 5 as they responded to McCutcheon Hall after Sha called 911.

When officers arrived, they found Chheda dead and sitting in a chair and Sha with what appeared to be blood on his clothing and body.

There was also a folding knife on the floor, which Sha later admitted was his. He told police he used the knife to kill Chheda while he was sitting in the chair where police found him, according to the affidavit.