Fudan University student sentenced to death for poisoning roommate

By Stefan Van Assche, February 18, 2014

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A former Fudan University student who poisoned his roommate in April 2013, was sentenced to death at Shanghai No 2 Intermediate People's Court on Tuesday.

Lin Senhao, 28, was charged with the intentional homicide of his roommate Huang Yang, also a postgraduate medical student. According to prosecutors, Lin laced a water dispenser the two shared with N-Nitrosodimethylamine, an organic chemical highly toxic to the liver. He had stolen the substance from a lab at Shanghai Zhongshan Hospital, where he worked as an intern.

"The defendant Lin Senhao committed intentional homicide by poisoning due to trivialities. The method was ruthless, the harm to society was great, the crime extremely serious," the court said in a statement, adding that Lin killed Huang "out of spite”. 


Huang became sick after drinking the poisoned water on April 1, fell into a coma shortly afterwards, and died of liver failure on April 16. Lin was detained on April 12.

Lin initially told the court he only intended the poisoning to be a prank. He said he laced the water after learning Huang wanted to trick someone on April Fool’s Day. He thought Huang was self-righteous and wanted to give him a taste of his own medicine.

Prosecutors said he knew full well the amount of NDMA he used could be deadly (he put in ten times the fatal dose for a man Huang’s size). Lin, they pointed out, had published several articles on the effects of NDMA, including measuring lethal volumes in mice. In addition, screening of Lin’s laptop revealed he had searched online for murder cases involving poisoning.

Lin was sentenced to death. Under Chinese law such a sentence must be reviewed by the country's top court before being carried out. Lin is expected to appeal. 

[Image: High People's Court of Shanghai. Via: Wikipedia]

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