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The man accused of brutally murdering Qian Wu in the hallway of her Flushing apartment building Jan. 26, was ordered to undergo a psychiatric examination and DNA swab in Queens Criminal Court last Thursday while the victim’s husband sat in the courtroom with his head bowed.
The case against Huang Chen will continue March 11 pending the results of the tests.
The psychological 730 exam will reveal if he is mentally and psychologically fit to proceed with the trial.
If Chen is deemed unfit, he will be treated by jail psychologists until he is ready for the trial.But Assistant District Attorney Dan Saunders does not believe that will be necessary.
“This was not unexpected,” Saunders said.
“What they asked for was a 730 exam. It’s not unusual when a defendant commits a violent crime or that’s what the allegation is,” he said after the hearing. “He’s being held right now awaiting the actions of a grand jury. Whether he’s fit to proceed or not, he’s going to remain in jail. I’m confident he will be fit to proceed.”
Saunders also said Chen had maintained his innocence as of last Thursday afternoon.
Wu’s husband, Yongwei Guo, attended the hearing and patiently waited for Chen through more than two hours of other cases. Guo was accompanied by Walter Chi, an aide to City Councilman Peter Koo (R-Flushing), and Linda Sun, an aide to state Assemblywoman Grace Meng (D-Flushing). The offices of Koo and Menghave been assisting Guo, who speaks little English, in the aftermath of the slaying.
But Chen, who is in custody, never showed his face Tuesday in Judge Dorothy Chin-Brandt’s courtroom, almost leading her to postpone the proceedings, until she learned he was downstairs in the courthouse.
He will go before a grand jury at a future date, but Chen’s defense attorney, Michael Schwed, said that stage is still a ways off.
“I don’t think it will get to a grand jury soon,” Schwed said after the hearing.
Wu’s murder was the culmination of an alleged four-year campaign of stalking and harassment by Chen, according to police. Chen was angry about being rejected by Wu’s employment agency, according to the Queens district attorney’s office.
Chen was arrested after choking and punching Wu in the face in 2006 and after serving 30 days in jail was put on supervised release, according the DA’s office.
He avoided Wu for several years but eventually moved in two doors down from her and began bothering her again Jan. 11, according to Meng. Wu attempted unsuccessfully to file orders of protection against Chen three times last month, including as recently as Jan. 22, Meng said.
Wu had already successfully filed an order against him June 1, 2006, according to Saunders, which was automatically reordered several times but had lapsed by last month.
Chen allegedly followed Wu into the hallway of her apartment building at 135-32 40th Road, bashed her head in with a hammer and cut her body open with a utility knife, police said. It was the first time Wu had left the apartment in days, Meng said.
Chen allegedly then pulled out some of her organs, leaving a gruesome scene a neighbor later discovered with her heart and lungs nowhere to be found, police said.
Chen allegedly fled the scene and was later caught by police after checking in at New York Hospital Queens for wounds police believe occurred during the murder, according to the DA.
His landlord, Wenxin Zhang, was charged with two counts of tampering with evidence after police observed her taking a bag containing the alleged murder weapons and bloody clothing out of her building which police later found in the bottom of a nearby trash can, according to the DA’s office.
Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4538.
©2010 Community Newspaper Group
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