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No bond for student accused of killing roommate in Purdue University dorm

Ji Sha in court 101322.JPG
Posted at 1:42 PM, Oct 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-14 14:03:35-05

LAFAYETTE — The man accused of fatally stabbing his roommate earlier this month in their dorm on Purdue University's campus will be held in police custody without bond before he goes on trial, a judge has ordered.

Jin Mi Sha, 22, was formally charged with murder Thursday, nearly a week after police say he killed Varun Manish Chheda, 20, in what officials called an unprovoked attack.

A trial date for Sha has yet to be scheduled. He's scheduled to appear for a hearing on Dec. 2 in Tippecanoe Circuit Court.

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 Cheda 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.

An autopsy found Chheda died from "multiple sharp force trauma" injuries to his head and neck. His death was ruled a homicide.

Last Friday, before Sha appeared for his first appearance before a judge, Sha offered an apology to Chheda's family.

A group of reporters was outside the courtroom as the suspect was ushered in. When one of them asked him what he had to say to Chheda's family he replied, "I'm sorry."

When reporters asked if he had anything to say the suspect stated "I was blackmailed" before being ushered into the courtroom.

Who was Varun Chheda?

Chheda was a senior studying data science, Purdue University officials have said.

He was also a 2020 graduate of Park Tudor School and a 2016 graduate of Sycamore School, where he attended from kindergarten to eighth grade.

Diane Boirgmann, Sycamore's head of school described Chheda as "a brilliant student, funny, and well-liked by his classmates.

Picture of Varun and the vigil held for him

Chheda was a member of a Sycamore Science Bowl team that finished second in the nation in 2016 and eighth in the nation in 2015 at the National Science Bowl competition, according to an official with the school.

He earned first place in the State Science Olympiad competition at Indiana University in 2015 for a presentation in environmental chemistry and earned second place in the state in the solar system division.

He was also a four-year member of the Sycamore MATHCOUNTS team and also earned first-place honors in the state Concurso Académico Spanish competition in 2015 and 2016.

According to an obituary for Chheda, he is survived by his parents, sister and grandparents.

University officials have said the school will provide counseling to anyone in need.