Chemistry major accused of poisoning roommate

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Lehigh University student Juwal Royal thought he had a “cordial” relationship with Yukai Yang, his roommate of four years. But for months, prosecutors say, Yang was trying to kill him.

Yang, a chemistry major from China, faces charges including attempted murder and aggravated assault for allegedly putting the chemical thallium, which is used in rat poison, in his roommate’s food and drink, the Morning Call reports.

Yang, 22, was first arrested in April on charges including ethnic intimidation after allegedly scrawling racist graffiti, including “(N-word) GET OUT OF HERE” on his black roommate’s desk and trashing his TV and bed.

Royal, who graduated from the Pennsylvania university in the spring, became so ill on two occasions in March that police were called to the room twice. On one occasion, he was hospitalized after vomiting for 45 minutes.

Tests revealed dangerous amounts of thallium in his blood. Royal, who is still experiencing symptoms from the poisoning, “was as dumbfounded by this as anyone else,” says assistant DA Abraham Kassis.

Authorities say Yang admitted buying thallium and other chemicals online and putting them in food and drink in their shared fridge, but said he bought them to harm himself “if he did poorly on future exams.”

Yang has been kicked out of Lehigh and will also lose his student visa, WFMZreports. (This Hartford University student was arrested after a sickening campaign against her roommate.)

More From Newser:

Latest News

More News

National News

More National

Washington D.C.

More Washington DC

Your Local Election HQ

More Your Local Election HQ

Don't Miss

Latest News

More News


KFOR Podcasts

More Podcasts

Follow @KFOR on Twitter