The Chinese immigrant charged with slashing a mother and her four children to death on Saturday in a Brooklyn bloodbath blurted out "I know I am done," when police arrived at the crime scene, according to court papers.
Suspected killer Mingdong Chen, 25, was ordered held without bail Monday during an appearance in Brooklyn criminal court on a criminal complaint that charged him with five counts of murder in the second degree, one count of first degree murder and an offense of criminal possession of a weapon.
Chen, who police said arrived in 2004 as an illegal immigrant from China, is charged with using a knife to slash and kill Li Qiao Zhen, 37, and her four children: Linda, 9, Amy, 7, Kevin, 5, and William, 1. All were killed at the family's home on 57th Avenue in the Sunset Park area of Brooklyn just before 10:30 p.m. Saturday.
It was unclear what precisely sparked the carnage. But law enforcement officials said Chen told detectives he resented the relative prosperity of the family and had been having problems keeping a job as a dishwasher. Chen, who was a cousin of the dead woman's husband, had been living with the family for about a week, said a law enforcement source.
Defense attorney Danielle Eaddy said in an email that she mentioned in court that Chen had suffered some bruises on his forehead may have occurred while he was in police custody.
A spokesman for the NYPD declined to comment on Eaddy's assertion.
A spokesman for the Brooklyn District Attorneys Office said the case was being referred to a grand jury.
The killings, in which all of the victims suffered slashing wounds to their necks, stunned the New York City's Chinese community.
"It is a tragedy for my heart," said a somber Kenneth Cheung, chairman of the Manhattan-based Fukien Benevolent Association of America.
The association has offered to help family members secure a visa so Li Qiao Zhen's mother could travel from China for the funeral, Cheung said. An amalgam of associations of immigrants from China's Fujian province where the family originated, would be helping to defray funeral expenses, Cheung said.
Edward Chiu, head of the Chinatown's Lin Sing Association, said family disputes and fights between new arrivals and more established family members are common. The spark is often the difficulties the new immigrants have in making their fortune, he explained.
"There are a lot of these kinds of problems," said Chiu.
"Most of them think this is the 'Golden Mountain,'" where you can pick up from the floor, Chiu said, referring to a Chinese expression for the U.S.