Ex-Lehigh University Student Yukai Yang Gets 7 to 20 Years in Poisoning of Roommate – NBC10 Philadelphia

What to know

  • A former Lehigh University student who admitted three years ago to poisoning his roommate’s food and drink with a heavy metal substance was sentenced to seven to 20 years in prison.
  • Yukai Yang, now 24, who apologized to victim Juwan Royal in court on Wednesday, will be deported to China after completing his sentence.
  • The former Lehigh University chemistry student pleaded guilty to attempting murder last fall and admitted that he bought thallium in March 2018 and started putting it in Royal’s food and mouthwash.

A former Lehigh University student who admitted three years ago to poisoning his roommate’s food and drink with a heavy metal substance was sentenced to seven to 20 years in prison.

Yukai Yang, now 24, who apologized to victim Juwan Royal in court on Wednesday, will be deported to China after completing his sentence.

The former Lehigh University chemistry student pleaded guilty to attempting murder last fall and admitted that he bought thallium in March 2018 and started putting it in Royal’s food and mouthwash. Royal previously testified that he suffered from weight loss, headaches and nausea. He was diagnosed with heavy metal poisoning in April 2018.

Thallium is odorless and tasteless and can be fatal in humans. The soft metal is used internationally in electronics manufacturing and other purposes. It was once used in rat poison in the United States but has been banned for that use since the 1970s.

Months before the attempted murder, Yang was charged with ethnic intimidation for allegedly damaging his roommate’s TV and writing a racist epithet on his belongings. Royal is black.

Yang said in court on Wednesday that he was sorry for hurting Royal, that he had hurt the man’s family and that he had shamed his own family and country, The (Allentown) Morning Call reported.

“I can’t undo the damage to your body,” said Yang, referring to the still somewhat debilitating effects Royal has under the heavy metal. “I cannot erase the pain I caused your family. I am here today to accept the punishment I deserve. “

Stephen Baratta, a Northampton County judge, said the defendant, who had a history of mental health problems, was flogged when the roommate suggested they move out in his senior year, WFMZ-TV reported. He called the defendant “an emotionally wounded, damaged person who couldn’t handle rejection”.

Royal told the court that he remained very concerned about the unknown long-term effects of thallium poisoning. And while he said he couldn’t forgive Yang for what he did to his family, he was forgiving his former roommate for what he did to him.

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