College student accused of poisoning roommate tried to flee the country, police say

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Fmr. Lehigh University student back in jail. Brian Taff reports during Action News at 4 p.m. on December 27, 2018.

A former Lehigh University student is back behind bars, accused of trying to flee the country.

Police say 22-year-old Yukai Yang posted cash bail earlier this week with plans to evade prosecution by flying home to China.

Yang had been held on allegations that he tried to poison his roommate.

It was inside his Lehigh University dorm where police say the student from China developed a murder plot, and carried it out trying to discreetly and slowly kill his roommate.

Authorities say Yang, a chemistry major, sickened his long time roommate with thallium and possibly other chemicals last spring. Juwan Royal experienced symptoms that included dizziness, shaking and vomiting, and his blood tested positive for thallium.

"This was over a period of time with small amounts of poisoning occurring," said Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli. "It was added to food and drinks in the refrigerator."

The DA says Yang poured it in Royal's milk and mouth wash.

"This victim is still experiencing physical symptoms from this poisoning that occurred," Morganelli said.

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Former Lehigh University student accused of poisoning roommate. Watch the report from Bob Brooks on Action News at 4 p.m. on December 20, 2018.


The first recorded incident happened back on March 18 when Royal called campus police to report: "He was sitting at his computer before feeling dizzy and passing out."

Then on March 29 he called for help again, telling officers: "He had been throwing up for over 45 minutes and felt very shaky."

Then shortly after that someone damaged and defaced Royal's property.

The report states on April 5 there was: "Damage to the victim's television and damage was also done to the victim's bed and desk where the phrase 'N*****, get out of here' was written in black marker."

A day after the property damage, Yang was arrested.

Authorities say he submitted a written statement that matched the handwriting on Royal's desk. Plus, he was the only one who had access to the room.

After his arrest, investigators were able to confiscate his cell phone and computer. It was information found on those devices that helped police determine that Royal needed a blood test.

Thallium was found in his system.

According to the district attorney, Yang: "Admitted to purchasing various chemicals on the internet, including Thallium and stated they were purchased with the intent to harm himself if he did poorly on future exams."

District Attorney John Morganelli is now asking a judge to order him held without bail.

Morganelli says the victim in the case deserves justice and that Yang should have to face a jury, not just deportation.
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