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The Indiana Daily Student

crime & courts

Former Purdue University student Ji Min Sha ruled fit to stand trial

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The Tippecanoe County Court has deemed former Purdue University student Ji Min Sha, who is charged with murder in the stabbing death of his roommate Varun Manish Chheda, competent to stand trial.

In April 2023, Tippecanoe Circuit Judge Sean Persin determined Sha lacked comprehension to stand trial and halted court proceedings. The Indiana Daily Student reported that two independent court-appointed physicians, George Parker and Joanna Will, told the court that Sha had schizophrenia and his medical history reflected the 22-year-old had been prescribed antipsychotic medication as early as 2012. The physicians recommended the court refer Sha to the Indiana Division of Mental Health and Addiction to receive inpatient care until his competency had been restored.

The Tippecanoe County Court filed an order to transport Sha to the county jail from Logansport State Hospital on Sept. 12. In this order, Persin stated Sha had attained the ability to understand the court proceedings and assist in his defense.

[Related: Purdue University student charged with murder ruled unfit to stand trial]

Chheda died from multiple sharp-force injuries and was found in his dorm in Purdue University’s McCutcheon Hall on Oct. 5, 2022. Sha was taken into police custody and preliminarily charged with murder.

Sha faces 45 to 65 years in prison if convicted.

An individual’s competency to stand trial includes their ability to sufficiently and presently consult with a lawyer and understand the case to a reasonable and rational degree, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. A defendant should also understand the charges and proceedings against them in a factual manner.

A status conference for the case is currently scheduled for Sept. 29, according to the case summary.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misspelled the name of the victim.

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