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Purdue student charged with murder to get mental evaluation to determine competency to stand trial

Ji Min Sha is accused of killing his roommate, 20-year-old Varun Manish Chheda, of Indianapolis, in October.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The Purdue student charged with the murder of his roommate will get a mental evaluation to determine if he is fit to stand trial. A judge granted the defense's request Thursday morning.

The motion to seek an insanity defense was filed Nov. 14 to determine 22-year-old Ji Min Sha's competency to stand trial.

The prosecutor's office filed that it did not believe the insanity defense should be allowed and asked for the two doctors currently assigned to evaluate Sha to be removed, citing conflicts.

Sha is accused of killing his roommate, 20-year-old Varun Manish Chheda, of Indianapolis, in October.

According to court documents, Sha made a 911 call and said he had just killed his roommate with a knife. Responding officers found Sha in the room with blood on his clothing and body.

Officers found Chheda dead in a chair. A folding knife was found on the floor. A preliminary autopsy found Chheda's cause of death was determined to be multiple sharp force traumatic injuries to Chheda's head and neck.

Credit: Henok Cronin
Varun Manish Chheda

RELATED: Prosecutor files murder charge against Purdue student in death of his roommate

Chheda was a junior at the university and studied data science. He was also in the Purdue Honors College.

An obituary for Chheda said he "loved the sciences, was very inquisitive and his passion for any subject matter was contagious."

He was a National Merit Scholarship Award Winner and a national runner-up in the Science Bowl Competition in 2016.  

Sha is a junior who is studying cybersecurity at Purdue. Police said Sha is an international student from South Korea.

RELATED: Friends heard screaming through online game as Purdue student was killed

Purdue Police Chief Lesley Wiete believes the crime was unprovoked and senseless.

When Sha was walking into an initial court hearing on Oct. 7, he was asked, "Why did you do it?" Sha can be heard responding, "I was blackmailed."

When 13News photojournalist Scott Allen asked if Sha had anything to say to the victim's family, he responded, "I'm very sorry."

RELATED: Purdue student remembered as someone who uplifted others

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