Mingdong Chen, man who killed 5 relatives with meat cleaver, gets 125 years in prison
A Chinese immigrant who pleaded guilty earlier this month to the meat-cleaver killings of five relatives, including four children under 9 years old, was sentenced Tuesday to 125 years to life in prison.
According to reports, State Supreme Court Justice Vincent Del Giudice accepted a plea deal on Oct. 7 under the condition that Mingdong Chen “be incarcerated until the day he dies.” Chen was sentenced to three terms of 25 years to life for murder and two terms of 25 years to life for manslaughter.
“This defendant’s vicious and sadistic attack makes him completely unfit to remain in society, and he will now spend the rest of his life behind bars,” said Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson.
A lawyer for Chen, 27, declined comment.
Authorities say the man confessed in Mandarin to killing his cousin’s wife, 37-year-old Qiao Zhen Li, and her children, 9-year-old Linda, 7-year-old Amy, 5-year-old Kevin and 1-year-old William Zhou in October 2013.
He was envious of his relatives’ success and had been fired from restaurant jobs, according to authorities and his relatives.
Li called her mother-in-law in China on the night of Oct. 27, 2013, to say Chen was threatening her family with a knife, prosecutors have said. The mother-in-law then called other relatives in New York after hearing children crying in the background, they said.
By the time relatives and investigators arrived, Chen was dripping in blood after slitting his victims’ throats, according to authorities.
The children’s father learned the horrifying news though a police interpreter of Chinese.
“The father was freaking out,” May Chan, a neighbor, told the New York Daily News. “He just came home from work and saw the police and they told him. He was hysterical.”
Prosecutors said it remains a mystery exactly why Chen killed his family members.
‘I always see (the kids) running around here,’ he added. ‘They run around by my garage playing. They run up and down screaming. They’re little kids … that’s so heartbreaking. Innocent kids, my God.’
Chen had been staying with the family for about a week. He was a transient and illegally in the United States, Assistant District Attorney Mark Hale said. An immigration hold was also placed on him.
Police said Chen apparently was envious of fellow immigrants’ successes in America.
‘He made a very soft comment that since he came to this country, everybody seems to be doing better than him,’ Banks said Sunday.
Chen was unemployed after being fired from a string of restaurant jobs he held for just a few weeks at a time, according to neighbors and relatives in the working-class Brooklyn neighborhood.
Neighbors also said that days before the brutal killings, loud, late-night arguments could be heard from the street.
“While we will never know what drove him to commit these murders, I hope that this sentence will offer this grieving family some measure of comfort,” Thompson said.
Chen remained ‘bizarrely calm’ as he was dragged past his family’s corpses and during his confession to police in which he said he was jealous of his victims’ money.
He was taken barefoot, his feet caked in blood, from the home in handcuffs by police.
The family did not appear to be better-off than those who lived around them in the working-class Chinese neighborhood near Ninth Avenue in Brooklyn.
They sent their three school-age children to a local public school, according to the Education Department and Li stayed at home with William.