Tuesday, January 2, 2018
Asian mafia assassin found guilty of stabbing casino crook 32 TIMES in crowded karaoke bar over $10,000 gambling debt
A Chinese Triad mafia assassin was found guilty of murder Monday for stabbing a man to death 32 times at a crowded Las Vegas karaoke bar in 2009.
Xiao Ye Bai, 25, was convicted of a slew of charges, including extortion, kidnapping, attempted murder and armed burglary in connection to the July 2009 killing of Wen Jun 'James' Li.
Bai could face the death penalty. Alternatively, the jury could sentence him to life without parole, 20 years to life or 20 to 50 years in prison.
According to the prosecution, on July 6, 2009, Bai was sent to the Forbes KTV club on Jones Boulevard to collect a $10,000 gambling debt from Li on behalf of the Asian criminal organization United Bamboo, for whom he allegedly worked as a hired gun.
Bai's attorney, Robert Draskovich, never denied that his client stabbed Li, but argued that the bespectacled 25-year-old Chinese immigrant never intended to kill the man when he arrived at the club.
Bai's ex-girlfriend, Pei 'Nikki' Pei, who drove the assassin to the club the night of the murder and initially faced the same charges as he, testified for the prosecution during the week-long trial in exchange for a plea deal, the Las Vegas Journal-Reviewreported.
Pei pleaded guilty to three lower charges, among them accessory to murder, and faces a maximum of six to 17 years in prison.
According to the prosecution, Li was running a scam at Las Vegas casino baccarat tables that was allegedly supported by Chinese gangsters.
Prosecutors said two months before the murder, Bai pulled Li into his car, where he proceeded to punch him in an effort to collect the money he owed, but evidently the intimidation did not work.
At around 3am on July 6, 2009, Bai's roommate saw Li at the Forbes KTV club and called the 25-year-old United Bamboo assassin.
About 30 minutes later, Bai and Pei pulled up to the club in the 3400 block of South Jones Boulevard.
Witness testimony corroborated by surveillance video showed that Pei first entered the karaoke bar alone and left at once. Bai then got out of the car and entered the bar, where he sought out Li in the crowd.
After coming face-to-face with Bai, Li screamed for help and tried to protect himself by throwing another person in his attacker's path.
Bai slashed the unfortunate club goer's arm and went in pursuit of his target. The victim stumbled and fell, and his assailant was soon on top of him, cutting and stabbing him in the head, back, neck and arms, according to witnesses.
A woman who saw the two men on the floor thought they were just fighting and tried to pull Bai off Li, but was stabbed four times in the process, according to investigators.
After the gristly attack, Bai ran out of the club, got into the getaway car with Pei in the driver's seat and took off.
Pei testified during the trial that she thought that her then-boyfriend went to the bar simply to retrieve the gambling debt and did not become aware of Li's murder until a week later.
Beside the Li slaying, Bai also faces charges in the December 2008 shooting outside of a San Gabriel restaurant that left one men dead and another wounded.