A 73-year-man has been arrested in the brutal killing of his live-in girlfriend after confession to his lawyer led police to her bloody corpse in Queens and a near suicide attempt, prosecutors said.
Chitwah Tse, of Fresh Meadows has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of his 61-year-old girlfriend, Huizhen Zhan, in the basement apartment they shared. Tse, who faces up to 25 years to life in prison if convicted, has been ordered held without bail.
“The defendant is accused of fatally bludgeoning the woman with whom he shared an apartment and a life together and then fleeing the scene without telling anyone what he had done until many hours after. He now faces serious charges that could lead to him spending the rest of his life behind bars if convicted,” Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said.
The couple shared their two-bedroom apartment with a third person, who on July 31 at about 6 p.m. last saw Zhan preparing dinner in the kitchen, according to prosecutors. Another person allegedly spoke to her on the phone and told investiagtors that the conversation occurred less than two hours after she was last seen. Around midnight, the roommate heard loud banging coming from the couple’s bedroom.
According to the charges, at about 5:30 a.m. Tse called the same person his girlfriend had spoken to on the phone the night before to say “We are awake.” The caller never allegedly spoke with Zhan. The roommate also only saw Tse that morning.
That evening when Tse met with relatives in Manhattan’s Chinatown, he allegedly told them, "in sum and substance, I am sorry for all that I have done. I don’t know if I’ll ever see you again," according to the district attorney’s office.
About an hour later, a lawyer called police saying that a new client walked into his office that afternoon and told him there was a corpse in a basement apartment at a certain address in Fresh Meadows. Police found a body in a bedroom of the address, Tse’s home, covered with a sheet that was soaked with blood, prosecutors said. There was also blood on the walls and ceiling and broken glass on the bed, along with blood on the shower stall, shower stall door and toilet, among other places.
The body was identified as Zhan who, according to the medical examiner, had died from blunt force trauma to the head.
On the afternoon of Aug. 3, after he had been identified by his lawyer and the death had been ruled a homicide, Tse climbed over a balcony railing on the 22nd floor of his lawyer’s offices and threatened to jump, according to the district attorney. Tse refused to get down until about 6 p.m. when police finally grabbed him, pulled him over the railing and brought him inside the building.
Tse, who was allegedly observed by police to have scratches and lacerations on his fingers, hands and chest, was then taken to Bellevue Hospital.