Roommate charged in poisoning of Lehigh University student


Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli says in the spring, 22-year-old Yukai Yang poisoned his long-time Lehigh University roommate, 23-year-old Jawan Royal, with a deadly chemical known as Thallium.

"Mr. Royal experienced extreme pain in his lower extremities as well as severe burning and numbness which resulted in intensive medical treatment," said Morganelli.

Morganelli says that treatment followed a series of emergency calls to the dorm room Royal and Yang shared. Twice because Royal was sick and vomiting, and another time because his belongings were vandalized.

"Police found damage to the victim's television and damage was also done to the victim's bed and desk where the phrase "N word get out of here" in black marker was written," said Morganelli.

Investigators say after Yang gave a written statement on the vandalism, similarities in his handwriting and the racist comment on Royal's desk were noticed.

But it wasn't until investigators had Royal's blood tested that they discovered that Yang, an honors chemistry student, was also allegedly responsible for the illnesses that plagued Royal.

Morganelli says Yang admitted he bought Thallium online and put it in food and drinks that were stored in the dorm's common refrigerator.

"They were purchased with the intent for him to harm himself if he did poorly on future exams," said Morganelli.

Yang was suspended from Lehigh.

The university released a statement saying the Lehigh University Police Department has worked closely with the DA's Office and that the university has been been providing support, services and assistance to Royal.

Since Yang is a Chinese national, Immigrations and Custom Enforcement are also involved in the case. Yang will be back in court January 3rd.

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