Sunset Park

Man pleads not guilty to Sunset Park murder

August 2, 2019 Noah Goldberg
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A Sunset Park man pleaded not guilty to murder charges Friday for a June killing that left a sleeping man dead on his bed with two gunshot wounds to the head, prosecutors said.

Sam Chen was arraigned in Brooklyn Supreme Court in front of Judge Vincent Del Giudice for the homicide Friday. He allegedly shot and killed 46-year-old, Da Li on June 26.

“This defendant allegedly planned his attack and callously executed the victim as he was asleep in his bed. We intend to prosecute this case vigorously to hold the defendant fully accountable for taking a life,” said Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez Friday.

Chen allegedly drove the victim to a two-story building on 51st Street near Seventh Avenue in Sunset Park in his 2014 Nissan, according to a criminal complaint. Chen and the victim walked into the building around 8:15 a.m. and Chen left moments later, video surveillance shows, according to the complaint.

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Chen returned to the building more than four hours later. He got out of his car and put on a surgical mask before entering the building, the complaint and prosecutors say. Video surveillance shows Chen leaving the building again, still wearing the mask.

Li’s body was found two days later on June 28, according to prosecutors.

Police searched Chen’s car on July 3 and found a loaded 9 mm semi-automatic pistol in a black plastic bag, according to the complaint. Ballistic evidence at the crime scene matched the gun in Chen’s car, police said.

Chen was charged with murder and criminal possession of a weapon the next day and faces 25 years to life in prison. He was arrested at John F. Kennedy International Airport while boarding a flight to California, according to prosecutors.

Chen is being held without bail and is due back in court Oct. 4. He is represented by James Kousouros and Sarah Zaboli.

Update (2:20 p.m.): This article has been updated with new information from the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office.

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