Yukai Yang, a former chemistry major at Lehigh University in Bethlehem Pennsylvania, stands accused of poisoning his roommate by adding toxic levels of the metal thallium to his food over a period of several months.
This crime was discovered some time after he allegedly defaced his roommate’s property with racist graffiti.
Juwan Royal, Yang’s roommate and victim of the poisoning, said that he woke Yang one night when he felt a burning sensation on his tongue after drinking a bottle of water.
Yang’s response was “So this substance that they are putting in your drink is colorless, odorless and dissolves in water,” according to a USA Today article, published Thursday.
Yang is a Chinese national who was attending Lehigh University on a student visa, which has since been revoked. A representative of Lehigh University confirmed he is no longer enrolled as a student.
Police responded multiple times to the dorm when Royal had experienced symptoms of the poisoning in the past, though he was only hospitalized once.
Royal was reportedly confused by his roommate’s behavior, according to Assistant District Attorney Abe Kassis:
“He believed they had a fairly cordial relationship as roommates.”
Both Royal and Yang were seniors when this took place and had roomed together during previous years.
Yang is now being charged with attempted homicide, in addition to the charges of ethnic intimidation he faces for the previous vandalism.
Twitter users had very strong feelings of shock and disappointment at the news, especially Lehigh students and alumni.
Former Lehigh University student charged with trying to poison his roommate https://t.co/z2NZcmQPar VERY LITTLE MAKES ME CRY, FEEL NAUSEOUS & ANGRY ALL AT THE SAME TIME, BUT THIS DID! HUMANS NEVER DISAPPOINT IN SEEKING NEW LOWS!#LeHighUniversity #Racism
— Saundra Goodman (@SageWithAge) December 21, 2018
@flyerrrmilesJ YO WTF I LIVED NEXT DOOR YOOOOO WTF WHAT IS THIS WORLD
— Nabi ⚱️ (@absentnabi) December 20, 2018
You really got to hate in order to use a substance use to kill rats, that was banned because it was so dangerous. How about you just move out or with another roommate?
— Darrel Hutchinson,End domestic violence now! (@oneptofview) December 21, 2018
My God, what the hell?
Yukai Yang charged with poisoning his roommate at Lehigh University https://t.co/FTk4ht6LtK
— Jo Ann Singer ✡️ (@jdpooch) December 21, 2018
Some called for prayers for victim, Juwan Royal.
— Connor Cragon (@ConnorCragon) December 21, 2018
Still others recall a similar case, and it’s lack of real consequences.
Sounds like the other case, when the white girl almost killed her black roommate and got no jail time. ????
— Dee-Dee (@hotworkjiw377) December 21, 2018
Former Lehigh University student charged with trying to poison his roommate https://t.co/NlpwKazfFK < this story reminds me of the #BriannaBrochu story except she got a slap on the wrist for doing this to her roommate.
— LaTonya B (@Mookeybaby1) December 21, 2018