NATIONAL NEWS

Man accused of killing Purdue University dormitory roommate found fit for trial after hospital stay

Sep 13, 2023, 1:47 PM

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — A man charged with murder in the stabbing death of his Purdue University dormitory roommate has been found competent to stand trial, court records show.

Doctors at Logansport State Hospital found Ji Min Sha competent for trial after months of treatment, a Tuesday court filing shows.

Sha “has attained the ability to understand the proceedings and assist in the preparation of his defense,” hospital Superintendent Bethany Schoenradt wrote in a letter to Tippecanoe Circuit Judge Sean Persin.

The judge in April found Sha unfit for trial in the death of 20-year-old Varun Manish Chheda of Indianapolis in October 2022. Persin at that time found that Sha had reported hallucinations and experienced chronic psychosis and delusional thoughts while in jail.

Persin directed the Tippecanoe County Sheriff’s Office to take Sha to the county jail.

A status conference in the case has been scheduled for Sept. 29.

A telephone message seeking comment was left for Sha’s lead attorney in the case.

Sha, a cybersecurity major from Seoul, South Korea, faces one count of murder in the October 2022 slaying of Varun Manish Chhedad, 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.

Court records show Sha has told police he believes “he is extensively involved in international espionage and is a former CIA operative.”

Purdue Police Chief Lesley Wiete has said Sha called police early on Oct. 5, 2022, 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.”

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Man accused of killing Purdue University dormitory roommate found fit for trial after hospital stay