Mugshot of suspect Ji Min Sha

LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The man accused of stabbing and killing his roommate at Purdue University made his first appearance in court Friday where he claimed he was “blackmailed” and was granted a continuance in his case.

22-year-old Ji Min Sha was taken into custody Oct. 5 and is facing a preliminary charge of murder. 

Varun Manish Chheda/photo provided

Sha is accused of killing 20-year-old Varun Manish Chheda from Indianapolis, who police found dead in his Purdue dormitory room from multiple stab wounds after Sha called 911.

Inside the Tippecanoe County Jail’s magistrate court, Sha was granted a 72-hour continuance, moving his initial hearing to 2 p.m. on Oct. 13.

“I was blackmailed.”

Suspect Ji Min Sha

While going into court, Sha first said “I was blackmailed” to reporters.

Court documents filed against Sha on Friday give more insight into the death of Chheda, including the suspect’s phone call to 911. However, the documents provide little insight into Sha’s motive.

Authorities were called around 12:45 a.m. Wednesday to McCutcheon Hall on the western edge of campus overnight after a man identifying himself as “Jimmy Sha” said he had just killed his roommate with a knife, police said.

Purdue records show that Sha, full name Ji Min Sha, shared a room in the dorm with Varun Chheda. Upon arrival to their room, officers talked with Sha, who they said had blood on his clothes and body.

An officer immediately detained Sha, docs show. Another officer found Chheda sitting in a chair surrounded by a “blood splatter on the wall, a pool of blood and a folding knife on the floor.”

In an interview with police, Sha allegedly admitted that the knife on the floor was his and that he had used the knife to kill Chheda, who was sitting in the chair where police found him.

“I’m sorry.”

Ji Min Sha leaving court Friday

Sha also said that after he killed Chheda, he called 911 and stayed in the room until officers came and arrested him.

Chheda’s official cause of death, according to an autopsy conducted Wednesday by the Tippecanoe County Coroner’s Office, was multiple “sharp force trauma injuries to the head and neck.”

After his court appearance Friday, Sha said to reporters “I’m sorry”. Officials confirmed that Sha will remain in jail on a preliminary charge of murder until his initial hearing on Oct. 13.