A Sunset Park man is facing up to 25 years in prison for allegedly bludgeoning and strangling a 43-year-old mother to death and critically wounding her young son and daughter with a hammer at their home on Aug. 23.
Liyong Ye, 47, was arraigned Wednesday in Brooklyn Supreme Court on charges of second-degree murder, attempted second-degree murder, first-degree assault, and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon in connection with the attack inside the 52nd Street residence.
“This was a horrific, harrowing, and unspeakably brutal attack on an innocent mother and her two defenseless young children,” said Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez. “With this prosecution, we will seek justice for Zhao Zhao and her son and daughter, as well their heartbroken family, friends, and neighbors.”
According to an investigation by the DA’s office, Ye allegedly called one of his roommates the day of the attack, asking him to pick up his 5-year-old son. The roommate in question told investigators that when he arrived at the apartment, he found the floor and walls of the kitchen covered with blood.
The roommate said Ye was allegedly holding a bloody hammer in his hand and standing over the bodies of Zhao and her children.
Ye and his son lived in the same apartment as Zhao and her family, though they were not related, according to investigators.
Cops arrested Ye at the scene, while paramedics rushed Zhao to Lutheran Hospital where she was pronounced dead from massive blunt force trauma to the head and body.
Zhao’s children were treated at the Pediatric Trauma Unit at Bellevue Hospital and subsequently transferred to a long-term rehabilitation facility where they continue to recover from their critical injuries.
The children are currently making “excellent progress” at the rehabilitation hospital and are set to undergo cranioplasty surgery to repair a skull defect caused by their injuries, according to a recent update from a family-approved fundraiser organized by local charity Parent Child Relationship Association.
Ye is being held without bail and is set to return to court on November 8. He faces up to 25 years to life in prison if convicted of the top count.