WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — A 22-year-old Purdue student from South Korea, who is accused of stabbing and killing his dorm roommate, was officially charged with murder by the Tippecanoe County Prosecutor’s Office on Thursday.
Ji Min Sha was taken into custody on Oct. 5 after he reportedly called police at 12:44 a.m. to say that he had just killed his roommate in McCutcheon Hall. If found guilty of murder, Sha could face between 45 and 65 years in prison.
According to previous reports, Sha stabbed and killed Varun Manish Chheda, 20, multiple times with a knife overnight on Oct. 5. Chheda and Sha were roommates who lived in the same dorm in McCutcheon Hall on Purdue University’s campus. At this time, no motive has been given by police as to why Sha attacked Chheda with a folding knife.
Sha told reporters he was “blackmailed” while walking into the courtroom on Oct. 7 to stand before a judge for the first time.
Court documents revealed that Chheda was found bloody in a chair when medics arrived at the dorm on Oct. 5. Blood was reportedly spattered on the wall and a folding knife was laying on the floor. Court documents state that Sha admitted to detectives on the scene that the knife was his and that he’d used it to kill Chheda.
Friends remembered Chheda as “the best guy you ever wanted to hang out with.” A friend who attended Park Tudor School in Indianapolis with Chheda said they stayed in touch by playing video games together nearly every day and that Chheda never spoke much about his roommate.
“It’s hard to imagine why anyone would want to do this to him,” said Chheda’s friend Andrew Wu.
A vigil was held in the evening of Oct. 5 to honor Chheda. Hundreds attended the gathering near the Unfinished Block P statue to remember Chheda and honor his life.
“Everyone knew him as someone who had a lot of potential. Everyone respected him, so to see him go like this is just unfair,” said Kevin Tian, a friend of the victim and high school classmate at Park Tudor School in Indianapolis.
Sha is being held without bond in Tippecanoe County Jail.