Cousin Who Killed 5 Relatives With Meat Cleaver in NYC Sentenced to 125 Years to Life

A man 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. 

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 Chinese immigrant 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.

Prosecutors said it remains a mystery exactly why Chen killed his family members.

"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.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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