Purdue University suspect in roommate’s slaying claims he was ‘blackmailed’

The suspect accused of killing his Purdue University roommate claimed he had been “blackmailed” 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 victim’s family, 20-year-old Varun Manish Chheda.

Sha faces a preliminary charge of murder.

According to court documents, he was granted a 72-hour extension of his arraignment in Tippecanoe County Jail’s Magistrate Court.

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Fox 59 said that while court documents filed against Sha Friday provide more insight into Chheda’s death, they offer little insight into his motive.

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

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

Sha, 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 a.m. ET regarding the death.

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

Fox 59 said Purdue records show police officers spoke 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 withheld, 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 in McCutcheon Hall early Wednesday.

A student, name withheld, 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 in McCutcheon Hall early Wednesday.
(USA Today Network via Reuters Connect)

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

He has not yet been formally charged.

Sha’s preliminary hearing is set for next Thursday at 2 p.m. ET.

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

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

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

Chheda, a computer 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 Indiana college roommate.

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

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

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