First-degree murder indictment for alleged killer of Chinatown’s Christina Yuna Lee

A Manhattan grand jury handed down a first-degree murder indictment against the accused killer of Chinatown resident Christina Yuna Lee, who was ambushed inside her own apartment back in February.

Assamad Nash, 25, allegedly stalked Lee up to her sixth-floor apartment on Chrystie Street early on the morning of Feb. 13, then forced his way inside her home. Prosecutors accused him of stabbing Lee more than 40 times, leaving her in a pool of her own blood in the bathroom.

The heinous murder shook Chinatown to its core, prompting calls for greater protection for residents of Asian descent and action to increase safety at nearby Sara Roosevelt Park.

“Today’s indictment marks the beginning of our pursuit of justice in the name of Christina Yuna Lee, a bright and beloved New Yorker who should not have had her life cut short in such a violent, shocking manner in her own home,” Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said Wednesday in announcing the indictment. “All New Yorkers deserve to be safe and secure, and we will ensure accountability for this senseless murder.”

Residents clung to photographs of Christina Yuna Lee.Photo by Dean Moses

According to court records, Nash had been out on supervised release at the time of the attack, having been previously arrested three times in four months for an array of crimes such as misdemeanor assault and vandalism of MTA MetroCard vending machines.

Just as Lee entered her apartment at about 4:22 a.m. on Feb. 13, authorities said, Nash allegedly pushed his way inside and closed the door behind her. Neighbors reported hearing screams coming from within Lee’s apartment, prompting them to call 911.

Officers from the 5th Precinct arrived moments later outside the apartment door, but they were unable to get in. Prosecutors said they could hear Lee screaming for help from the other side — when suddenly, all went quiet.


Seconds later, according to prosecutors, Nash allegedly imitated Lee’s voice, claiming that all was fine. He then allegedly attempted to exit the apartment via the fire escape, only to go back inside after seeing an officer waiting on the roof above him. The officer observed Nash allegedly holding an object, later determined to be a knife, in his hand.

At about 5:40 a.m. that morning, members of the NYPD Emergency Services Unit finally gain access to Lee’s apartment. They found Nash hiding under a bed and took him into custody; he had a stab wound to his torso, and cuts on his hands and shoulders, according to prosecutors. 

Inside the bathroom, officers found Lee, naked from the waist up and covered in blood, having been stabbed more than 40 times about her torso. EMS units subsequently pronounced her dead at the scene. 

Nash was indicted on first-degree murder, first-degree burglary and first-degree burglary as a sexually motivated felony. A first-degree murder conviction carries the maximum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.