Murder suspect's criminal history sparks outrage in Chinatown killing

ByEyewitness News via WABC logo
Thursday, February 17, 2022
Calls for justice grow in wake of grisly Chinatown apartment murder
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Several groups are rallying and calling for justice after the grisly murder of Christina Yuna Lee in her Chinatown apartment. NJ Burkett has the latest details.

CHINATOWN, Manhattan (WABC) -- Several groups are rallying and calling for justice after Sunday's grisly murder of a woman in her Chinatown apartment.

Christina Yuna Lee, 35, was followed into her apartment and killed. Korean community groups say something needs to be done to put a stop to the violence against Asian Americans.

Right now the crime is not considered a bias crime. But the district attorney is promising to investigate further, to ensure the victim wasn't targeted because of her race.

It comes as more details are revealed about how the terrifying attack unfolded early Sunday morning.

Assamad Nash, 25, is charged with murder and burglary. Police say he followed Yuna Lee into her building and upstairs to her apartment. That's where he's accused of stabbing her 40 times, leaving her dead on the bathroom floor.

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Yuna Lee was found half naked. Investigators believe the crime was sexually motivated.

When police officers arrived, they say Nash impersonated a woman's voice, saying they did not need help.

The Medical Examiner ruled Yuna Lee's cause of death as multiple stab wounds of the neck and torso with injuries of high cervical vessels and lungs. Her death has been ruled a homicide.

Now there is an outpouring of grief and rage, as community leaders demand an end to the violence against Asian Americans.

"We want to live in a safe community where we don't have to worry when we go out of the apartment, and we don't have to worry when we are going into subway that we're going to be subject to an attack," said Charles Yoon, Korean American Association of Greater New York.

"Michelle Go's murder, Christina's murder, are not considered hate crimes," said Grace Lee. "But that does not diminish the fear, the real fear, that we as Asians, as Asian women especially, are feeling."

Court documents reveal that Nash was found hiding under a bed in the apartment and that he suffered stab wounds as well.

Prosecutors say that is evidence that the victim fought for her life.

Even before the murder, Nash had been arrested seven times in the past seven years, including an arrest in September of 2021, for punching a man in a Chinatown subway station. He was released without bail and when he failed to appear in court, he was rearrested by the NYPD and released-once again, without bail.

Many critics blame the state's criminal justice system-and not just in this case. Some, arguing that bail reform has gone too far. Others, that the mentally ill need help.

"This was a heinous act-heinous-that should not to happen to anyone, anywhere., he should not have been on the street," said Derek Perkinson with the National Action Network.

Mayor Eric Adams met with the Democrats in Albany who enacted bail reform-urging them to reconsider. And was turned down.

"There was no arguing, no yelling, no screaming," Adams said. "Areas we disagreed with, we talked about them and walked through them. They respected my opinion and I respected their opinion."

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