A*Star scholarship holder Ouyang Xiangyu returns to court on May 15 on charges of poisoning lab mates

SINGAPOREAN A*Star scholarship holder Ouyang Xiangyu will be back in court in Palo Alto on May 15 on charges of poisoning drinking water of her laboratory mates at Stanford University.

It will be her fifth court appearance since her arrest on Nov 16 last year. Her first court appearance was on Dec 1.

Ouyang, 26, has been charged with four counts of poisoning the drinking water of two of her Stanford lab mates between September and November last year. She admitted to adding paraformaldehyde (PFA) to two water bottles that were not her own, but is likely to plead not guilty due to insanity.

Prior to these incidents, she had also sabotaged her lab mate's experiments starting from mid-August.

Stanford University said Ouyang is no longer a student there.

She is currently on a US$50,000 bail (S$67,771) and is barred from leaving the United States.

Court documents show that she will undergo a mental health examination, the results of which are likely to be used in her defence.

During her interview with police, Ouyang said she had been psychologically unstable, depressed, stressed and very dizzy since September.

She also seemed repentant in her statement, telling the police "I know it's wrong" and the thought of her lab mates drinking the tainted water was terrifying.

simlinoi@sph.com.sg