A Brooklyn grand jury indicted a Chinese immigrant on charges he slashed to death a Brooklyn mother and her four children on Oct. 26, officials said Friday.
Mingdong Chen, 25, who has been held without bail since his arrest last weekend, was charged by the grand jury with killing Li Qiao Zhen, 37, and her four children: Linda, 9, Amy, 7, Kevin, 5, and William, 1. The exact nature of the charges couldn't be determined but likely mirror first- and second-degree murder charges filed earlier in a criminal complaint.
Police said that Chen, an immigrant from Fujian province in the United States illegally, admitted using a knife to cut the throats of his victims because he felt upset about his inability to find work and make money. On Thursday, Zhen's husband, Zilin Zhou, attended a news conference at the headquarters of the local Changle American Association, an organization of immigrants from the Fujian area of China. Looking somber, Zhou spoke briefly in his Fujianese dialect and thanked the public for its support. He then broke down in tears.
Officials at various Chinese associations have raised at least $70,000 to help defray funeral and other costs for Zhou, said his attorney Salvatore Aspromonte of Manhattan. A number of funeral homes have offered to donate their services, Aspromonte said Friday.
The Chinese language news media and Chinatown officials have said there have been numerous reports that Chen may have been sent over the edge emotionally because he had been the victim of a marriage fraud. But at the news conference Aspromonte said Zhou knew nothing about that issue and didn't believe it to be true.
Still, numerous reports in the Chinese media, citing relatives of the dead woman in China as sources, said Chen angered her because of a personal relationship he allegedly had with a young woman described as his "adopted sister."
"I know there was . . . [a family] relationship," said Aspromonte about Chen and the woman. But he was unaware if Chen had any kind of romantic relationship with the woman who is now the object of an intense search by Chinese language media.
On Friday, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly said Chen hasn't been communicative with investigators since his arrest. Defense attorney Danielle Eaddy of Brooklyn didn't return an email request for comment.