Student tried to slowly poison roomate


photo via wikipedia under the creative commons license

These were what the drugs looked like that Yang put into the drinks and food of Royal.

A former chemistry major at Lehigh University, who allegedly vandalized his longtime roommate’s property with racist graffiti, was charged with attempted homicide Thursday December 20th, after he also allegedly poisoned the roommate over several months by mixing toxic amounts of thallium into his food and drink.

Yukai Yang, 22, who turned himself in Thursday, is no longer enrolled at Lehigh, a university spokeswoman confirmed to.

Morganelli said Yang poisoned roommate Juwan Royal using small amounts of the metal over a several months, adding it to his milk, water and mouthwash. Royal first noticed this when he had a burning sensation on his tongue after drinking bottled water.

Police responded multiple times in March when Royal experienced symptoms, including dizziness and vomiting, and he was taken to the hospital once.

Prosecutors said in early April, police responded to the room again for vandalism and damage to Royal’s property that included a racial epithet. Royal is African American, Morganelli said. Police were able to compare the handwriting of the vandalism to the handwriting of Yang.

Police later did chemical testing on Royal’s blood, which tested positive for thallium at a rate of 3.6 micrograms per liter, above the safe limit for humans. Had the levels been higher there was a strong chance Royal could have died. Thallium, a “very effective poison,” has been used to kill in other cases, Assistant District Attorney Abe Kassis said.

Both students were seniors at the time of the incident and had roomed with each other in the past.

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