Death Penalty Applies In Cases Of Multiple Killings

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A Chinese immigrant has been indicted on five counts of first degree murder for allegedly slashing his cousin’s wife and four young children.

As WCBS 880’s Irene Cornell reported, a Brooklyn grand jury voted Friday to indict Mingdong Chen, 25, for the killings.

First degree murder no longer carries the death penalty in New York State, but does apply in a case of multiple killings, Cornell reported.

Chen did not enter a plea at his arraignment on Monday, where he was ordered held without bail.

According to police, the family of five were fatally stabbed around 10:45 pm. on Oct. 26 in their Sunset Park, Brooklyn apartment.

Chen was still in the apartment covered with blood when a relative alerted by a frantic call from the mother arrived at the door, but it was too late to save any of them.

Two girls, 9-year-old Linda Zhuo and 7-year-old Amy Zhuo, were pronounced dead at the scene, along with 18-month-old William Zhuo, police said. They were all found in a back bedroom, police said.

Their brother, 5-year-old Kevin Zhuo and their 37-year-old mother, Qiao Zhen Li, were found in the kitchen and taken to hospitals, where they also were pronounced dead, police said.

According to a criminal complaint, Chen said “I know I am done” to relatives who discovered him.

NYPD Chief of Department Philip Banks III said the five “were cut and butchered with a kitchen knife.” Banks said the victims died of stab wounds to their necks and torsos and that Chen had implicated himself in the killings.

Banks said police have yet to determine a motive for the massacre.

“He made a very short comment that since he’s been in this country everybody seems to be doing better than him, and that was a short comment,” he said. “We’re not really sure what that means.”

Investigators believe Chen came from Chicago to stay with his cousin’s family a week or so ago.

On Saturday night, Sunset Park neighbors heard victim Li’s screams. She had been home the children while her husband, Yi Lin Zhuo, was at work.

Banks said Chen was fluent only in Mandarin Chinese almost a decade after coming to the United States as a teenager. Neighbors and relatives said he was unemployed after being fired from a string of restaurant jobs.

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