Christina Yuna Lee was stabbed more than 40 times by a person who followed her into her apartment in New York City’s Chinatown and imitated her voice when police came knocking, prosecutors said.
A suspect, Assamad Nash, was arrested and charged Monday with first-degree murder, burglary and sexually motivated burglary in the slaying of Lee early Sunday, New York City police announced.
At Nash’s arraignment Monday, where he was remanded, prosecutors shared chilling details about the case.
Nash, 25, was seen in security video following Lee, 35, as she entered her apartment building around 4:20 a.m. Sunday. He followed her up six flights, remaining one flight behind while looking up, before rushing into her unit's door behind her, according to the criminal complaint.
Neighbors heard Lee scream for help and called police.
When police arrived, they heard Lee's calls for help before her voice went quiet and the sound of another voice emerged, prosecutor Dafna Yoran said at the hearing.
It was Nash imitating the voice of a woman and claiming they didn't need police, Yoran said.
Nash tried to leave through a fire escape but saw an officer on the roof and went back inside the victim's apartment. The officer saw a yellow object in the man’s hand, prosecutors said.
When emergency service unit officers entered Lee's apartment at 5:40 a.m., they discovered her in the bathroom with stab wounds to her torso. She was naked from the waist up, prosecutors said.
Nash was found hidden under the bed, and a yellow-handled knife was found hidden behind the dresser, prosecutors said. He had a stab wound to his torso and cuts on his hands and shoulders, they said.
Prosecutors said that Nash has an extensive record in New Jersey and that at the time of Lee's killing, he was out on supervised release in three open cases.
If he is convicted, he faces a sentence as long as life without parole.
Authorities are investigating whether the victim was the target of a crime due to racial animus or belief.
As Nash was led out of the Fifth Precinct stationhouse in handcuffs Monday, he said, “I didn’t kill anyone.”
NBC News has reached out to his attorney for comment.
Lee, a Rutgers University graduate, was a senior creative producer at Splice, a digital music platform, Variety reported.
In a tribute, Splice said: “Our hearts are broken. Always dedicated to making beautiful and inclusive artwork, Christina is irreplaceable.”