CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. (AP) - A judge is refusing to reduce the sentence for a former Virginia Tech graduate student who admitted to decapitating a classmate.

Haiyang Zhu was sentenced in April to to life without parole. He pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the death of fellow Chinese student Xin Yang in January 2009.

A Montgomery County Circuit Court judge on Tuesday refused to reconsider the sentence.

Zhu’s attorneys said he has no criminal record and no history of violence, but prosecutors argued the only way to protect the public is to keep him in prison.

Zhu attacked and decapitated Yang as the pair had coffee at a campus eatery. Prosecutors said Zhu killed the woman because she rejected his romantic advances.

The slaying was the first at the university since a deadly mass shooting there in 2007.

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