NYC man accused of murdering Christina Yuna Lee pleads not guilty, says he was ‘trying to help her’

assamad nash
  • Assamad Nash, 25, was charged with murder, burglary and burglary as sexually motivated felony for reportedly stabbing Christina Yuna Lee, 35, to death last month.
  • The repeat offender, who has been arrested eight times since May 2021, entered a not guilty plea on Wednesday.
  • New court documents revealed that he claimed to be a victim himself, blaming a “dude” who “stabbed us up” at the time of his arrest.
  • Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said the indictment “marks the beginning of our pursuit of justice in the name of Christina Yuna Lee,” while Mayor Eric Adams assured AAPI New Yorkers that they are working “around the clock” to put a stop to violence in the community.

Assamad Nash, the 25-year-old man accused of fatally stabbing 35-year-old Christina Yuna Lee last month, has been indicted on multiple felony charges without hate crime enhancements on Wednesday.

Nash was taken into custody shortly after the incident, which occurred inside Lee’s apartment in Manhattan’s Chinatown on Feb. 13. That marked the eighth arrest for the repeat offender since May 2021.  

Surveillance footage shows Nash following Lee into her apartment building at 111 Chrystie St. Soon afterward, neighbors heard Lee “calling for help” and pleading for someone to call 911 “over and over and over again.” The authorities, who responded at around 4:35 a.m., found Lee in her bathtub “bleeding from multiple wounds to her body.”

Nash was charged with first-degree murder, first-degree burglary and first-degree burglary as a sexually motivated felony. He entered a not guilty plea through his attorney.

Court documents showed that Nash claimed to be a victim as well. He reportedly told police that he was trying to protect Lee, putting the blame on a “dude” who “stabbed us up.”

“I was trying to help this female getting hurt by other people. I was trying to help the lady,” said Nash.

He allegedly tried to leave the building via a fire escape, but he went back inside after realizing that a police officer saw him. He was ultimately arrested after authorities found him naked from the waist up hiding under Lee’s bed.

“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,” District Attorney Alvin Bragg said in a statement. “Ms. Yuna Lee’s death not only devastated her loved ones, but struck fear into the hearts of our AAPI neighbors, who have already suffered far too much pain in recent years.”

Bragg, who recently announced the creation of Pathways to Public Safety, a new division of his office that will promote alternatives to incarceration, maintained that prison time will continue to be an outcome for the most serious offenses. “All New Yorkers deserve to be safe and secure, and we will ensure accountability for this senseless murder,” he added.

At the time of Lee’s murder, Nash, who was reported to be homeless, was out on supervised release for three other open cases. Bodycam footage reportedly showed him telling the police that he was recently released from prison. 

In a statement, Mayor Eric Adams described Wednesday’s indictment as another “critical step towards delivering justice” for Lee.

“I want members of our AAPI community, and all New Yorkers, to know that we are working around the clock to put an end to this violence and ensure that people in every neighborhood can feel safe in our city,” Adams said.

 

Featured Image via New York Police Department (left), PIX11 News (right)

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