Purdue University suspect accused of killing roommate claims he was ‘blackmailed’

The suspect accused of killing his roommate at Purdue University claimed he had been “blackmailed” on Friday during his first court appearance.

In a video, speaking to reporters, 22-year-old Ji Min “Jimmy” Sha said he was “very sorry” when asked if he had a message for the family of the victim, 20-year-old Varun Manish Chheda.

Sha is facing a preliminary charge of murder.

According to court documents, he was granted a 72-hour continuance in his case inside the Tippecanoe County Jail’s magistrate court.

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Fox 59 said that while court documents filed against Sha Friday give more insight into the death of Chheda, they provide little insight into his motivation.

Ji Min Sha, 22, was identified as the suspect by Purdue Police Chief Lesley Wiete during a press conference.
(Purdue Police)

Sha, who is an international student from Korea and a cybersecurity major, was taken into custody after Purdue Police said he made a 911 call at 12:44 am ET regarding the death.

The Tippecanoe County coroner told Fox News Digital that Chheda had been killed by “multiple sharp force traumatic injuries,” and that the manner of death is homicide.

Fox 59 said Purdue records show that police officers talked with Sha, who had blood on his clothes and body and that Chheda was found sitting on a chair surrounded by blood and a folding knife on the floor of his dorm room.

A student, name not given, holds a candle during a vigil for Varun Manish Chheda, Wednesday, Oct.  5, 2022, at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind.  Varun Manish Chheda, a student at Purdue, was killed inside McCutcheon Hall early Wednesday.

A student, name not given, holds a candle during a vigil for Varun Manish Chheda, Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2022, at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind. Varun Manish Chheda, a student at Purdue, was killed inside McCutcheon Hall early Wednesday.
(USA Today Network via Reuters Connect)

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The station said Sha allegedly admitted the knife on the floor was his and that he had used the knife to take Chheda’s life.

He has yet to be formally charged.

Sha’s initial hearing is set for next Thursday at 2 pm ET.

WTHR reported Thursday that police confirmed Chheda had been gaming online with friends the night he died, and that friend Andrew Wu told the outlet that he heard screaming through the gaming platform.

Varun Manish Chheda, 20, was killed at his Purdue University dorm earlier this week.

Varun Manish Chheda, 20, was killed at his Purdue University dorm earlier this week.
(Sycamore School)

Chheda, a data science major, is widely remembered as a kind, intelligent and caring person.

Wu, who went to school with Chheda, told Fox News Digital last week that his friend never talked about his roommate at the Indiana college.

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“I guess I just can’t emphasize enough, he’s just a really, really good person. I think one of the best people I’ve ever met, for sure,” he recalled. “He’s super, super kind.”

Chheda’s family has asked people to donate to Riley Children’s Foundation in his memory. More than $2,000 have been raised so far.

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