Saturday, January 24, 2009

Beheading at Virginia Tech

Once again, Virginia Tech was the scene of a horrific incident this past week. A young graduate student was gruesomely slain by a fellow graduate student, apparently over coffee.

Yang of Beijing was slain with a large kitchen knife as she had coffee with the 25-year-old Zhu on Wednesday night at a cafe in the building where she lived, a hotel converted into graduate student housing.

A Tech police officer arrived Wednesday night to find Zhu holding 22-year-old Yang's head in his hands, according to a court affidavit filed Thursday. Zhu is being held without bond in the slaying, the first on campus since a gunman killed 32 people and then himself in April 2007.

While a fellow teaching assistant described Zhu as personable, his landlord at Sturbridge Square Apartments said the student behaved oddly and was "belligerent" at times.

The fellow teaching assistant's assessment seems cliched -- of the he was always quiet and polite and kept to himself variety. The landlord's assessment seems more forthright and honest, describing Zhu also as "a combative guy" who refused to turn the heat on in his apartment and caused the pipes to burst. Not a model tenant. Not an ideal coffee companion either it turns out.

Haiyang Zhu, a doctoral student in Agriculture and Economics, has been charged with first degree murder.

Xin Yang had arrived at Virginia Tech only two weeks ago to pursue her Masters Degree in Accounting. She was 22.

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