Former Lehigh University student allegedly poisoned black roommate after racist incidentMore
22 December, 2018, 13:02
Yukai Yang, a chemistry major, is accused of attempted murder following a monthslong investigation into a case that District Attorney John Morganelli called "weird and freaky", saying the roommate once believed he and Yang had a good relationship. In May, Yang was charged with ethnic intimidation, institutional vandalism and criminal mischief after he scrawled the n-word on a desk in the room he shared with Royal, who is black.
Investigators then found that Royal's blood tested positive for thallium - an odorless, tasteless, toxic soft metal that can be fatal in humans - at 3.6 micrograms per liter, or above the recommended exposure limit, Morganelli said.
Morganelli said Royal's tongue was sore for several days and that he became sickened again the following month. In February 2018, Royal was drinking bottled water, and his mouth began to burn.
Assistant District Attorney Abe Kassistold NBC News Yang had surrsurreptitiously been slipping the poisonous thallium chemical into Royal's mouthwash, food and casual beverages he'd find unattended throughout their dorm room.
"The victim is still experiencing physical symptoms from the poisoning that occurred, so this is something has had some lasting impact", Morganelli told reporters.
Yang later admitted to Lehigh University police he purchased several chemicals, but with the intent of doing harm to himself should he perform poorly on assignments and exams.
Mr Yang admits buying chemicals but says they were intended for his own use.
"This was over a period of time with thallium being added to foods and drinks in the refrigerator", Morganelli said.
On Thursday, Yang surrendered to Lehigh University police to face charges that also include aggravated assault, simple assault and reckless endangerment.
Yang's lawyer, Janet Jackson, could not be reached for comment. Royal, meanwhile, graduated last spring.
Yang was arrested immediately after the graffiti was discovered. She said he has since been living in Easton with his mother.
What is extremely disturbing is that Royal had no idea Yang would go this far.
Morganelli said Yang told officers that the milk in the refrigerator and Royal's mouthwash had changed color.
As police continued to investigate, they noticed the victim, a senior at the time, appeared to be sick. 'From the outset, our concern has been the health and safety of the victim of these alleged behaviours and, as such, Lehigh staff and faculty have been providing support, services and assistance, ' the school stated.
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Prosecutors said that much like the slow process Yang was using to poison his roommate, Royal slowly realized what was happening. Yang reported he had noticed the milk in the refrigerator had changed color, as had Royal's mouthwash, authorities said.
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