Student Decapitated at Virginia Tech

AP, January 22, 2009

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 Thursday.

Xin Yang, 22, was killed Wednesday night after arriving at the campus from Beijing on Jan. 8 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.

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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.

“An act of violence like this brings back memories of April 16,” university president Charles Steger said. “I have no doubt that many of us feel especially distraught.”

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