Stanford poisoning case: A*Star scholar pleads 'no contest' to 4 felony counts

Stanford poisoning case: A*Star scholar pleads 'no contest' to 4 felony counts

WASHINGTON - Former A*star scholarship holder Xiangyu Ouyang, 26, pleaded "no contest" to four felony counts of poisoning according to the Santa Clara County District Attorney's office.

The former Stanford University graduate medical student made the plea on Tuesday (Dec 8), at Palo Alto's North County Courthouse and faces a maximum sentence of one year in county jail.

She had initially pleaded not guilty in May this year.

A no contest plea means that while the defendant does not admit to guilt, he or she does admit the truth of the facts alleged in the case.

She was arrested on Nov 16 last year for poisoning the drinking water of two of her Stanford lab mates between September and November last year.

The lab mates said they experienced burning sensations in their throats after drinking from their bottles.

When questioned by the police in November, Ms Ouyang said she had been experiencing severe insomnia and dizziness since last September and admitted to putting paraformaldehyde (PFA) in two water bottles belonging to others in her lab.

She had also sought the help of a psychiatrist at the time.

Ouyang told police she never had any intention of harming anyone and claimed her actions were "a cry for help".

Other Stanford students who spoke with The Straits Times and knew Ouyang said she had seemed stressed by school work and was a quiet and shy individual.

Ouyang, who has been expelled from Stanford University, is also accused of sabotaging a lab mate's experiments from mid-August.

Sentencing is scheduled for Jan 15, 2016. Ouyang could not be reached for comment.


This article was first published on December 9, 2015.
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