College Student Accused of Poisoning Roommate Tried to Get Deported to Dodge Trial: Prosecutor

A 23-year-old former Lehigh University student accused of poisoning his roommate’s food and drink with thallium planned to get deported to China to avoid prosecution in U.S. courts, a prosecutor announced Thursday. Investigators discovered Yukai Yang’s alleged plan soon after he posted $200,000 in cash bail, and they removed him from federal immigration custody, the Associated Press reports. He has now been returned to Pennsylvania’s Northampton County Jail. “Mr. Yang thought that because he is a foreign national, now here illegally in that his student visa has been revoked, that he could post bail, waive his right to a deportation hearing and abscond,” district attorney John Morganelli said in a statement. This December, Yang was charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault, and ethnic intimidation, among other charges, for allegedly poisoning his black roommate over several months. The roommate reportedly suffered dizziness and vomiting as a result, and has said he continues to experience symptoms. Yang was also charged with vandalism and ethnic intimidation this spring for allegedly putting racist graffiti in their room. Investigators are reportedly now probing a possible second case of poisoning with thallium at the school, although it was not immediately clear if it was linked to Yang.