Queens woman held in stabbing death of North Shore attorney
The 25-year-old woman accused of stabbing a prominent North Shore attorney to death after he refused to take her case was arraigned late Tuesday in Queens Criminal Court and ordered held without bail, according to online court records.
Xiaoning Zhang, 25, of Flushing, is charged with murder in the death of attorney Jim Li, 66, of Great Neck, as well as two counts of criminal possession of a weapon with intent to use.
She appeared before Judge Jerry M. Iannece and was remanded. Records indicate her next scheduled appearance is Friday. If convicted, Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said in a statement, Zhang faces a maximum of 25 years to life in prison.
Her Legal Aid attorney could not immediately be reached for comment Wednesday.
Zhang was arrested by the NYPD in the murder of Li, whose given name was Li Jinjin, a prominent attorney who spent nearly two years in prison in his native China for his role in the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy movement.
Authorities said Wednesday that Zhang was still in the victim's law office on 39th Avenue in Flushing when police, responding to a 911 call reporting an assault in progress, arrived and found Li bleeding to death from what the district attorney's office described as "multiple puncture wounds to his neck, shoulders and torso."
Li was taken to NYC Health and Hospitals/Elmhurst, where he was pronounced dead.
Authorities said responding officers found Zhang, clothes "stained with blood," at the scene — and Katz said two knives were recovered, one of them in Zhang's jacket.
"As alleged, the defendant showed up in her lawyer's office armed with two knives and, in an outburst of rage, stabbed the victim repeatedly throughout his body," Katz said in a statement released Wednesday, adding: "Violence is never the solution to any dispute. Now a man is dead and a community is grieving this tragic loss. The defendant is in custody and faces very serious charges for this senseless slaying."
Li, who is married with two adult sons, was a respected immigration attorney whose firm, Jim Li & Associates, also specialized in cases dealing with back pay and poor labor conditions.
An official with knowledge of the probe said investigators suspected the victim was attacked in a dispute over whether he would represent the suspect in an immigration matter.
Attorney Wei Zhu said Li had been looking into Zhang's asylum request, which had been recently denied