Friday, January 23, 2009
Chinese student decapitates another at Virginia Tech
A graduate student from China was decapitated with a kitchen knife in a campus cafe at Virginia Tech by another graduate student who knew her, police said. Xin Yang, 22, was killed after arriving at the campus from Beijing on Jan. 8 2009 to begin studying accounting, Virginia Tech Police Chief Wendell Flinchum said. Her accused attacker, 25-year-old Haiyang Zhu of Ningbo, China, knew the victim but no motive for the slaying has been determined, Chief Flinchum said. School records showed that Mr. Haiyang was listed as one of Ms. Xin's emergency contacts. Mr. Haiyang was charged with first-degree murder and was being held without bond at the Montgomery County Jail. His lawyer, Stephanie Cox, did not immediately return a call seeking comment. Mr. Haiyang and Ms. Xin had been having coffee in a cafe in the Graduate Life Center, where Ms. Xin was living. About seven other people who were in the coffee shop told police that the two hadn't been arguing before the attack. Police received two 911 calls, Chief Flinchum said, and were on the scene in a little more than a minute to take Mr. Haiyang into custody. Chief Flinchum said Mr. Haiyang was not known to the campus police or to the university team that deals with mentally disturbed students. University officials said Mr, Haiyang arrived on campus in the fall of 2008 and was a PhD student in agricultural and applied economics. The stabbing was the first killing on campus since a mass killing on campus in 2007, when a student gunman shot 32 people and then took his own life. University spokesman Larry Hincker said a campus alert system put in place after the mass shootings by Seung-Hui Cho in 2007 sent out messages to 30,000 subscribers by e-mail, text messages and telephone voice mails. Because a suspect was in custody, the messages were sent out as notifications rather than as emergency alerts, he said.