Meridian Star

National News

December 21, 2009

(11:14 a.m.) Virginia Tech-Slaying

TIM HUBER,Associated Press Writer

CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. (AP) — A former Virginia Tech student accused of decapitating another student at a campus eatery pleaded gulity to murder Monday as prosecutors described the killer as an obsessed, jilted lover.

Haiyang Zhu (hy-yuhng-joo) had fallen in love with Xin Yang (shin yuhng) but she rejected him, saying that she had a boyfriend she planned to marry, prosecutors said in revealing a motive for the first time.

Zhu faces up to life in prison. He did not say why he killed the woman during the plea hearing.

Prosecutor Brad Finch said on the morning of Jan. 21, Zhu purchased the 8-inch butcher knife used in the murder, two other knives and a claw hammer. He also called Yang a dozen times after buying the weapons.

Finch also cited a letter Zhu wrote while in jail, which said Yang's rejection "forced him to kill her" because "he loved her too much."

"Xin broke his heart on the morning of January 20th when she told him that she had a boyfriend and that they planned to get married," the letter said, according to Finch.

Before the killing, Zhu penned what Finch termed a love letter that was found in her dorm room after her death. The letter was written shortly after Zhu first met her and indicated he had "fallen deeply in love."

"She makes him happy and fulfilled, that she is beautiful and that he will treasure her forever," Finch said. "The defendant asked Xin to be his girlfriend."

Finch also described the attack in detail, noting that Yang suffered numerous defensive wounds to her hands and arms as she tried to fend off Zhu. She eventually fell and he severed her head. He was holding it when police arrived.

About seven other people who were in the shop at the time told police the two hadn't been arguing before the attack.

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