N.Y.C. Man Admits Stalking, Then Stabbing Woman 40 Times in Killing that Raised Fears of Anti-Asian Attacks

Assamad Nash pleaded guilty to one count each of second-degree murder and first-degree burglary as a sexually motivated felony

<p>Go Fund Me</p> Christina Yuna Lee

Go Fund Me

Christina Yuna Lee

A New York City man accused of stalking and stabbing a woman 40 times inside her Chinatown apartment in 2022 has pleaded guilty to several charges in connection with the killing, according to the Manhattan District Attorney’s office.

On June 18, Assamad Nash, 27, pleaded guilty in New York State Supreme Court to one count each of second-degree murder and first-degree burglary as a sexually motivated felony, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg, Jr. said in a press release. He is scheduled to be sentenced on July 30 to 30 years to life in state prison.

According to court documents cited in the release and as admitted in Nash’s guilty plea, the harrowing incident unfolded as Christina Yuna Lee, 35, entered her apartment building near Grand Street and Chrystie Street around 4:20 a.m. on Feb. 13, 2022.

Related: N.Y.C. Woman Found Murdered in Bathtub After She's Followed Home, Fatally Stabbed in Her Apartment

That early morning, Nash followed Lee into the building and up six flights of stairs to her apartment. There, Nash ran up behind Lee, forced himself into her apartment and attempted to sexually assault her, the release states.

The New York Post obtained chilling surveillance footage of the incident at the time and described it as showing Nash walk about 6 feet from Lee inside a narrow hallway as she headed to her apartment unit.

At 4:22 a.m., Lee’s neighbors called 911 after hearing sounds of a struggle, including Lee screaming for help, according to the release. A few minutes later, New York police officers arrived at Lee’s apartment and heard her screams but were unable to get inside.

Meanwhile, Nash tried to flee the apartment through the fire escape but went back inside after spotting an officer on the roof above him, the release states. By 5:40 a.m. officers broke down the apartment door and found Nash hiding under Lee’s bedroom mattress, as well as a bloodied kitchen knife hidden behind the dresser, authorities said.

In the bathroom, officers found Lee with “at least 40 stab wounds, including to her head, neck and torso,” according to the release. Lee was pronounced dead at the scene.

Nash was initially arraigned in criminal court on a first-degree murder charge and two counts of burglary, PEOPLE previously reported.

<p>Shawn Inglima/New York Daily News/Tribune News Service via Getty Images</p> Assamad Nash in February 2022.

Shawn Inglima/New York Daily News/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Assamad Nash in February 2022.

Lee’s slaying happened about a month after Michelle Go, another Asian-American woman, was fatally pushed in front of a subway car, raising fears of attacks against Asian-Americans, according to reporting by New York Times. Around that time, the number of anti-Asian hate crimes documented by the NYPD had doubled from the same period the previous year, the outlet reported.

On a GoFundMe campaign created in the wake of her death, Lee’s loved ones said she was killed in a “senseless act of violence” after returning from a night out with friends.

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“Christina was full of life,” fundraiser organizer Angela Yujin Lee wrote on behalf of the Lee family. “She radiated positivity, joy, and love. She supported her friends in everything that they did.”

"She went above and beyond to make those she loved know she was there for them—never expecting anything in return,” the statement continued. “Her loss is an unfathomable tragedy that her loved ones and her community will struggle with for years to come.”

In announcing the guilty plea, District Attorney Bragg thanked police and other investigative teams for their work on the case.

“Today Assamad Nash was held accountable for senselessly taking Christina Yuna Lee’s life after he followed her into her own home,” he said in the release. “Ms. Yuna Lee’s family and loved ones were deprived of a daughter, sister, and friend. My thoughts are with her family and our community as they continue healing from this tragedy.” 

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