Yukai Yang, a 22-year-old former Lehigh University student, has been charged with attempted homicide, aggravated assault, simple assault, and reckless endangerment after he allegedly poisoned his roommate with chemicals.
Yang, a Chinese international who was studying chemistry at Lehigh University, reportedly poisoned his roommate, Juwan Royal, with thallium and possibly other chemicals during the Spring 2018 semester.
In April, Royal’s blood tested positive for thallium after he was experiencing symptoms such as dizziness, shaking and vomiting. A blood test showed that the victim — who is still reportedly suffering from physical symptoms at the time of this writing — tested positive for thallium at a toxic rate of 3.6 micrograms per liter.
As a result of the charges, Yang is no longer enrolled at Lehigh and his student visa has been revoked.
Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli announced the charges against Yukai Yang, 22, during a news conference Thursday morning. Yang, a chemistry major, is accused of putting the chemical thallium in food and drinks to poison his roommate at Lehigh over the past few months.
Morganelli said police were called to their room several times since March for a report of a sick male.
Morganelli said Yang kept adding the colorless and odorless chemical to his roommate’s food and drinks, poisoning him, and the victim got worse over time. Initially, Yang told investigators he believed someone was tampering with their items, including milk and the roommate’s mouthwash.
The roommate, who graduated from Lehigh in spring 2018, is still suffering from physical symptoms today, Morganelli said. He experienced extreme pain in his lower extremities, and severe burning and numbness. Thallium can affect the nervous system, lungs, heart, kidney and liver and can lead to death.
Lehigh University released the following statement about Yang’s charges on the morning of Thursday, December 20:
“The Lehigh University Police Department has worked closely with the District Attorney’s Office on the investigation and will continue to do so. From the outset, our concern has been the health and safety of the victim of these alleged behaviors and, as such, Lehigh staff and faculty have been providing support, services and assistance.”
Who Is Yukai Yang?
Yukai Yang is a 22-year-old Chinese former Lehigh University student who has been charged with a littany of crimes after he allegedly poisoned his roommate with the chemical thallium.
This was not the first time that Yang was arrested and charged, as he was previously charged with ethnic intimidation, institutional vandalism, and criminal mischief after he allegedly wrote racist graffiti on Royal’s desk.