The homeless man who allegedly massacred a 35-year-old woman in her Chinatown apartment has a long rap sheet involving petty crime and robbery — which law enforcement sources say is the likely motive behind Sunday’s shocking massacre.
Asmad Nash, 25, has been charged with murder and robbery in the alleged stabbing of Christina Yuna Lee, who bled to death in the bathtub in her apartment early Sunday morning after Nash followed her home.
The career criminal has made at least a dozen arrests in New York and New Jersey dating back to 2012, when he was just a teenager, according to court records and sources.
At the time of Lee’s murder at about 4 a.m. Sunday, Nash was out under supervision after Jan. 6 for damaging dozens of MetroCard machines at three different Manhattan subway stations between Dec. 8 and Dec. 31, according to court records.
The criminal complaint states that he attempted to escape from police custody during that arrest – opening the doors to a police car and fleeing after he was caught by police at Sixth Avenue and West 34th Street.
Prosecutors said he has faced 27 counts of criminal mischief and is scheduled to appear in court March 9.
Nash’s extended rap also includes other open cases – including one involving violence – in Manhattan, where he is known as a “highwayman” due to his alleged history of undercover crime.
On September 28, Nash allegedly punched David Elliott, 63, in the face after he swiped a Metrocard to a woman at a Grand Street subway station, telling him, “I’ll punch you if you swipe it,” a police source said.
Prosecutors said he obtained a summons from the office and then was released on recognizance.
“I was watching the news at five in the morning, and I saw them take him out of the apartment and I said, ‘This is the guy that King beat me up!’” David Elliott told The Post Monday outside his Brooklyn apartment. “Shouldn’t have taken to the streets – hell not.”
Five days earlier, Nash was arrested for selling a MetroCard for $2 at the same station and was found with K2, or synthetic marijuana, in his pocket, according to a criminal complaint and police sources.
“Can I get my K2 back?” he asked a policeman, who arrested him, according to the complaint. “I love K2.”
In that case, prosecutors said, Nash was again released on his own recognizance.
“This is an excellent example of the broken windows theory,” a Manhattan cop gripped to The Post.
“If they were going to hold him for something small, this pretty young lady would be working today.”
Nash also has introductions in Newark, New Jersey. He was arrested twice in 2014 for burglary and illegal firearm possession and busted as a minor for burglary and criminal mischief in 2012, according to sources.
Because of his criminal record, sources believe Nash was looking to rob Lee as he stalked her into her building at 111 Christie Street early Sunday morning.
The annoying scuffle turned deadly, leaving Nash with stab wounds and Lee — his desperate cries of “Call 911!” Neighbors heard her — butchered to death in her bathroom, according to sources.
“I heard her screaming for help,” Lee’s next-door neighbor, who declined to be identified, told The Post late Monday. “I went out into the hallway when I heard the first commotion. I heard someone else inside her apartment, who was trying to silence her.”
She was screaming, ‘Help! “…I heard something that made it sound like he was holding a firearm. Because of that, I went back to my apartment. I was scared for my safety. That’s when I called 911.”
The Legal Aid Society, which has represented Nash in a handful of cases, declined to comment Monday.
Rosie Rivera, a Chinatown artist, told The Post that she recognized Nash from the Grand Street subway station, which is a block down from Lee’s apartment and a frequent site of alleged subway crimes.
“A few months ago, maybe in August, he asked me for money and ignored him so he called me bitch. He had devilish eyes,” recalls Rivera, 29.
“It gave me the creeps.”
On Monday afternoon, Nash was taken away in handcuffs from the NYPD’s Fifth Precinct in lower Manhattan after he was booked for a murder Sunday morning.
“I didn’t kill anyone!” Wearing dark pants, a gray T-shirt and a jacket over his head, Nash, 25, told reporters when asked why he butchered Lee, leaving her to die in the bathtub.
“I don’t know what’s going on!” He continued before he was led into a waiting police car.
Chilling surveillance footage obtained by The Post shows Nash damaged Lee from the moment she got home. As the woman made her way up six flights of stairs to her apartment, Nash followed closely and made his way into the apartment just before the door closed.
Police sources said Lee bravely tried to fight Nash – leaving him with wounds on his body – as he allegedly repeatedly stabbed her to death.
When the cops arrived at her apartment, Nash attempted to flee using the unit’s firing exit, then barricaded himself inside when he was seen on the stairwell.
Police sources said members of the NYPD Emergency Service unit eventually broke down the door and found Lee bleeding in the bathtub and a bloodied Nash hiding under a bed.
Neighbors said Lee, a creative producer who worked for the music platform Splice, previously lived in New Jersey and had only been in the apartment for less than a year.
Splice released a statement after her death, saying, “Our hearts are broken.”
“Christina has always been dedicated to creating beautiful and inclusive works of art, and is irreplaceable,” the company said.
“As we begin to process this tragedy, we ask that you remember Christina Lee as the magical figure who was always filled with joy. We wish peace to her family in their grief.”
Lee’s relatives declined to comment when they were reached at their New Jersey home Monday afternoon.
In the fifth district where the murder occurred, total crime is up 52 percent so far this year compared to the previous year. The defeated residents of Lee’s building were seen leaving the building Monday night with luggage and suitcases, fearing for their safety.
Earlier in the day, dozens of community members gathered in a nearby park to condemn the violence Lee suffered and to demand change from government officials.
“I blame the de Blasio administration for failing to find a real solution to address homelessness and the mental health crisis,” said Jackie Wong, an organizer, 45, of Concerned Citizens on East Broadway.
“Chinatown already has five shelters, and the city is putting three more in our neighborhood, all within a mile radius… We’re a very dense neighborhood, don’t forget that. We’re asking the city to really look into fair share.”
Police said Nash stayed at a homeless shelter near Lee’s apartment.
Kay Webster, chairwoman of the Sarah D. Roosevelt Park Coalition who used to see Nash around, said Nash should not have been free to allegedly kill.
“You know when someone isn’t feeling well. That’s someone who should have been walking the streets. You know when someone isn’t in control of themselves,” Webster said.
“Get him off the streets, no one was born wanting to do that… No words would make a woman spend her last minutes on earth like that.”
Additional reporting by Amanda Woods, Tamar Labine, Catalina Jonella, Larry Celona, Joe Marino, Kevin Sheehan and Elizabeth Rosner