College Students Who Killed Their Roommates

Not to be too dramatic about it, but one of the most challenging experiences anyone has to deal with in modern life is living with a roommate. No matter how careful you are in selecting them and no matter how easy you think you are to live with, sharing a living space with another human being is inherently difficult. Even when you actually like and care for your roommate, it can be stressful when different approaches to life and different attitudes towards stuff like housekeeping or sleep schedules clash.

For many people, the first time in their lives they have to deal with roommates they're not related to is when they head off to college. Often students in on-campus housing are placed with roommates they've never met before, and even if you arrange for off-campus housing, it's often the first time you have to deal with stuff like sharing bills and chores voluntarily, without parents forcing the issue. It's little wonder, then, that many college roommate conflicts end in fights and tears.

Some college roommate situations end in much darker and more violent ways, too. Combine stress, immaturity, and sometimes illegal substances and you have a perfect cocktail for tragedy. Next time you find yourself dealing with a bad roommate who eats your leftovers and refuses to clean the bathroom, consider yourself lucky you didn't end up with one of these college students who killed their roommates.

Sinedu Tadesse

According to The New York Times, on May 28, 1995, a woman named Thao Nguyen was staying over in the dorm room of her friend Trang Ho and her roommate, Sinedu Tadesse, at Harvard University's Dunster House dormitory (pictured). When an alarm clock awakened Nguyen at 8 AM, she looked over and saw Tadesse stabbing Ho to death with a knife. When she tried to stop the attack, Tadesse turned and stabbed her as well. The Los Angeles Times notes that Tadesse then ran into the bathroom and barricaded the door. By the time authorities broke down the door, Tadesse had died by suicide.

The crime was initially baffling. According to The Washington Post, Ho and Tadesse were friends who had bonded over their similar experiences: Both were from developing nations (Ho was from Vietnam, while Tadesse hailed from Ethiopia), and both had worked incredibly hard to find themselves in the pre-med program at an elite American university.

But according to The Harvard Crimson, that bond may have been the catalyst for the attack. Tadesse's diaries revealed a woman in crisis, struggling with a deep sense of loneliness that drove her to send letters to strangers. Ho had just informed Tadesse that she planned to live with a different roommate in her senior year. The murder prompted an outcry from students who complained that the mental health support on campus was insufficient, pointing to the numerous signs that Tadesse was struggling in the weeks before the attack.

Ji 'Jimmy' Min Sha

According to The Washington Post, in early October 2022, Purdue University cybersecurity major Ji Min Sha — who went by "Jimmy" — called the police to report that his roommate, Varun Manish Chheda, was dead. FOX59 News reports that when the police arrived at their dorm room, they found a blood-splattered room and a knife on the floor, and Sha admitted to being the killer. He was immediately arrested on a preliminary murder charge.

According to NBC News, Chheda's friends and family were playing video games and chatting on Discord with the Indianapolis native and data science student on the night of his death. A friend of Chheda's reported that they suddenly heard screaming on the line.

People struggled to explain the murder. Purdue University Police Chief Lesley Wiete described the killing as "unprovoked and senseless." Sha, who was an international student from South Korea, made several strange statements when making a court appearance. Yahoo! News reported that Sha said, "I am very sorry," when reporters asked if had any message for Chheda's family, then went on to state that he was blackmailed — without offering any evidence or elaboration. The New York Post reports that Sha also appeared to mutter, "I love my family," as he was being taken to jail.

Luisa Ines Cutting

According to Cosmopolitan, on the morning of January 24, 2019, Radford city police were called to the apartment shared by Radford University students Luisa Ines Cutting and Alexa Cannon. When Luisa opened the door, she was covered in blood, and immediately urged the police to arrest her, saying, "I killed her." People reports that Cutting proceeded to give police a disturbing series of rambling statements, claiming to have done "cocaine with the devil." She also recited a prayer, referred to the apocalypse, and attempted to fit her fist inside her mouth. Her attorney later called it a psychotic episode triggered by drug use — Cutting admitted that in the hours prior to the murder, she had indeed taken cocaine, as well as mushrooms, Adderall, Xanax, marijuana, and alcohol.

Heartbreakingly, The Herald Sun reports that Cutting and Cannon were seemingly very close. Cannon frequently posted about Cutting on her social media, describing her as her "best friend." Cutting responded by writing "I love you so-so much" to one such post. Hauntingly, Cannon had posted, "Pray that we don't kill each other this year," a few months before her death.

Cutting pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 20 years in jail for the murder, and offered a simple apology to Cannon's family, saying, "There are no words for this tragedy, and my heart is filled with sorrow and grief. ... I am so, so sorry."

Jordyn Jones

According to Atlanta News First, Clark Atlanta University student Jordyn Jones and Alexis Crawford appeared to be more than just roommates in an off-campus apartment, but best friends. They were so close Jones spent time with Crawford's family during the holidays. So it was beyond shocking when Jones and her boyfriend Barron Brantley were arrested for Crawford's murder.

Essence reports that Crawford filed a police report accusing Brantley of sexually assaulting her while she was passed out from intoxication. Jones appeared to take her boyfriend's side and reportedly stopped speaking to Crawford. On October 30, 2019, a physical fight broke out in the apartment between Crawford and Brantley. Brantley began choking Crawford — and Jones reportedly joined in, suffocating her with a plastic bag. According to Fox 5 Atlanta, Brantley and Jones proceeded to place Crawford's body into a plastic storage bin and transported her body to a nearby park. They then cleaned the apartment thoroughly. Most chillingly, Jones continued to text Crawford, claiming increasing worry over her lack of response — all while she possessed Crawford's turned-off phone — in a clear effort to create the appearance of innocence.

According to 11 Alive, the proceedings against Jones and Brantley were interrupted and frequently delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and they only made their first official court appearance in May 2022. Jones and Brantley requested to be tried separately.

Nichole Rice

As reported by The Washington Post, in 2007, a man named Gorden Knutson became concerned when he hadn't heard from his daughter, Anita, in several days. He drove to her apartment in Minot, North Dakota, where Anita had been studying elementary education at Minot State University, and discovered her dead body. Anita had been stabbed multiple times on her bed and left there with a house coat tossed over her body.

People reports that there were several mysteries associated with Anita's murder. The door was locked and there were no signs of robbery. A bloody knife was found in the sink, and Anita's bedroom window screen had been sliced off and removed, leaving traces of blood behind — indicating it had been done post-murder. Anita's roommate, Nichole Rice, told police she had been away with her family for the weekend, but there were inconsistencies in her story, and friends told police that Rice and Anita didn't get along as roommates.

But police struggled to put together evidence. According to KX News, they received tips that Rice had admitted to the killing at a party in either 2008 or 2009, but couldn't identify a specific witness until March 2022, when they tracked down William May, who confirmed the reports. May claimed he had attempted to get Rice to elaborate but had been unsuccessful. Police re-interviewed several people, including Rice, and finally arrested her and charged her with Anita Knutson's murder 15 years after her death.

Tong Cheng

According to Patch, Tong Cheng was a former student at the Stevens Institute of Technology, living at an apartment in Jersey City with Yuting Ge, a current student. reports that several neighbors heard Cheng and Ge arguing one Saturday morning in August 2020, as well as Ge screaming for mercy in Chinese and a "thumping" noise. Despite these disturbing incidents, no one called the police. When Ge and Cheng's other roommate noticed blood in their shared bathroom the next morning, several people finally called 911. It was too late: Police found Ge in the apartment, stabbed to death.

The evidence against Cheng quickly piled up. Police reviewed surveillance video that showed Cheng with what appeared to be blood stains on his shirt, and Cheng was admitted to the local hospital for a hand wound later in the morning. Police quickly tracked Cheng down at a nearby hotel and arrested him, charging him with first-degree murder.

According to Hudson County View, Cheng made no attempt to deny the charges and pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated manslaughter. The state asked the court to sentence Cheng to 30 years, invoking the state's No Early Release Act, but according to, Cheng was sentenced to 28 years by a Hudson Country Superior Court Judge on August 19, 2022.

Kundarrius Taylor

According to ABC 17 News, roommates Kundarrius Taylor and Torrance Evans had not gotten along for several weeks before Taylor shot and killed Evans after a heated argument. KAIT 8 News notes that Taylor told investigating officers that Evans had "disrespected" him on many occasions, leading to a final, deadly confrontation. Evans was a student at Central Methodist University, where he was an offensive lineman for the school's team. Taylor was a former student in the process of seeking re-admission when the incident occurred.

Evans was a popular student: The team held a moment of silence for Evans and took up a collection to cover his funeral expenses, and the university offered counseling services to help students deal with the shocking act of violence.

Despite apparently admitting guilt to investigators, Taylor pleaded not guilty when he made his initial court appearance after the arrest. His lawyer requested he be released with electronic monitoring because he wasn't a threat to the community, and claimed he would argue self-defense at trial because he felt threatened by Evans. The prosecuting attorney, however, pointed out that Taylor said nothing about fearing for his life when he spoke to police, and noted that he'd kept a firearm very near to a college campus. According to KOMU 8, Taylor was denied bond, remaining in jail until his preliminary hearing.

Shanterrica Madden

Nashville Scene reports that when Shanterrica Madden's roommate at Middle Tennessee State University, star basketball player Tina Stewart, reported her for smoking marijuana in their off-campus apartment, an altercation ensued. According to the Kingsport Times News, the altercation turned deadly when the much larger and more athletic Stewart began to physically assault Madden. Madden, who is 4 feet 11 inches tall, claimed she feared for her life as the 5 foot 7 inches Stewart began hitting her. After being arrested for Stewart's death, Madden pleaded self-defense.

This might have worked except for one small detail: Madden attempted to cover up her involvement in the crime. She apparently made no attempt to help Stewart after stabbing her, sent texts from Stewart's phone to mislead anyone looking into the killing, and washed and disposed of the knife in a garbage dumpster. All of this led Circuit Court Judge Don Ash to tell Madden that he didn't believe she was remorseful — or credible. He sentenced her to 25 years for second-degree murder, with an additional four years for tampering with evidence. Madden will serve at least 26 years of that sentence.

According to WKRN Nashville, Madden's attorney filed appeals claiming ineffective counsel and denial of impartial treatment. As reported by Johnson City Press, Madden claimed that Judge Ash was a Facebook friend of Tina Stewart's basketball coach, bringing his impartiality into question. Madden took the case to the Tennessee Supreme Court in 2020, but her appeal was denied.

Quran Jones

The Los Angeles Times reports that Cal State Sacramento student Quran Jones was seen hitting himself with a baseball bat and smashing up his dorm room by several witnesses in October 2009. Six minutes later, his roommate, Scott Hawkins, entered the room. According to SFGate, there was no known conflict between the two prior to that moment.

According to CBS Sacramento, when Cal State Sacramento campus police arrived at Jones' campus dormitory, they were confronted by Jones, who "had a crazed look in his eye." He was hitting himself on the head with a baseball bat and then charged at the police with a knife in his hand. The police shot him several times, then found his roommate, Scott Hawkins, severely beaten in the room they shared.

The Mercury News reports that Jones had to undergo major surgery for his wounds, and according to The State Hornet, he was paralyzed as a result of the shootings. Although witnesses had attested that Jones may have been experimenting with a psychedelic drug, there was no evidence of drug use, and Jones eventually pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. Jones' trial dragged on as his mental state was assessed. The presiding judge eventually ruled that Jones was insane, and prosecutors negotiated a plea deal wherein Jones pleaded no contest to second-degree murder. The judge sentenced him to 18 years in prison.

Earnest Jackson

According to the Daily Journal, Earnest Jackson and Timothy Campbell were roommates at Miles College in Alabama in 2001. They were also teammates on the school's football team. WSFA12 News reports that Campbell's Chevy Tahoe was found abandoned in a pasture in November 2001, and his body was found under a loose pile of leaves a few days later.

Jackson initially described the killing as an accident. In a videotaped statement made to the Oktibbeha County Sheriff's Department, Jackson claimed he was being driven by Campbell and was showing him his gun. He then claimed that due to his "reflexes," the gun hit the dashboard of the truck, and went off, shooting Campbell in the head. He then stated that he threw the gun into a nearby river and placed Campbell's body in the back seat.

But Jackson's story didn't add up. The forensic pathologist on the case noted that the bullet wounds Campbell suffered were consistent with a defensive move, indicating that he knew he was about to be shot. And the body showed signs of having been hidden far longer than Jackson initially claimed. Faced with these inconsistencies, Jackson eventually pleaded guilty to murder. The prosecutors believe robbery was the motivation for the killing, and Jackson received a life sentence.

Breyana Davis

According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, on August 27, 2016, roommates Breyana Davis and Charles Rudison, a business major at Georgia State University, went out partying. 12 News reports that the two went out with Davis' friend Conquista Johnson, but at one point, Davis left her friends and drove herself home. This made Rudison and Johnson upset because they were forced to pay for a rideshare service to get home.

According to Davis, when they arrived at the apartment, Rudison was angry and pushed Davis, but Johnson refutes that, stating that Rudison did not attack Davis at all, and only demanded to know why she had left them without a ride home. According to Johnson, after a brief argument, Davis suddenly grabbed a pot of boiling water from the stove and doused Rudison with it. She then stabbed Rudison in the heart.

WPXI News reports that Davis was initially charged with murder, but negotiated a plea of voluntary manslaughter. The judge in her case sentenced her to 20 years in prison — but the mystery of her motive, and how a night out with friends could suddenly turn into a brutal and senseless murder, remains. Charles Rudison's sister expressed disappointment in Davis' sentence, saying, "I wish the years were longer."