Purdue student charged with killing roommate claims insanity

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — A Purdue University student charged with murder in the stabbing death of his dormitory roommate has filed notice in court that he plans to use an insanity defense.

In a motion electronically filed Friday, Ji Min Sha’s attorney, Kyle Cray, requested the court to appoint “two or three competent and disinterested psychiatrists, psychologists or physicians who have expertise in determining competency to examine the Defendant and report to this Court on his competence to stand trial.”

The motion also sought to schedule a competency hearing for Sha, the Journal and Courier reported.

Sha, a 22-year-old cybersecurity major from Seoul, South Korea, faces one count of murder in the slaying of Varun Manish Chheda, 20, of Indianapolis. The two lived in McCutcheon Hall on Purdue’s West Lafayette campus, about 65 miles (104 kilometers) northwest of Indianapolis.

Prosecutors allege that Sha stabbed Chheda, a data science major, several times in the head and neck with a folding knife that officers found on the floor near the chair where Chheda’s body was discovered.

Purdue Police Chief Lesley Wiete has said Sha called police early on Oct. 5 and told them his roommate was dead in their dorm room. Officers who arrested Sha found him wearing clothes with blood on them, prosecutors have said. An autopsy found that Chheda had died of “multiple sharp-force traumatic injuries.”

Sha is being held at the Tippecanoe County Jail.

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