OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) — Two men were arrested on Thursday for the murder of Oakland dentist Lili Xu, the Oakland Police Department announced. On Monday, documents released by the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office shed more light on the motive behind the killing.
One of the arrestees was 73-year-old Nelson Chia, who was Xu’s long-time boyfriend. The other was 33-year-old Stockton resident Hasheem Bason. The DA’s office said the pair conspired to profit from killing Xu. Chia killed himself after he was taken into custody.
Xu was shot and killed while getting out of a car in Oakland’s Little Saigon neighborhood at 2:03 p.m. on August 21. According to an arrest warrant for Bason, Chia was driving the car that Xu was in and Bason committed the murder. He was in a car that pulled up next to Chia’s after it had stopped before getting out and killing Xu.
When police arrived, Xu and Chia were lying side-by-side on the ground. Chia said the couple had ran some errands during the day and arrived at an appointment for massages when the murder happened.
In a later interview, Chia said that Xu had a collection of life insurance policies, trusts, LLCs, real property and accounts worth between $12 million and $14 million. He said he was the trustee for the trusts and stood to get $1 million from the life insurance policies. He also said Xu’s adult son would also receive an immediate payout.
After the murder, Chia gained control of “numerous financial accounts belonging to Xu,” per the warrant. “Investigators further learned that Chia orchestrated the accounts and trusts so that he would have an income from the estate of Lili Xu for the rest of his life,” it said.
DNA collected at the scene was found to be Bason’s, the DA said. Investigators also tracked the the suspect car back to a dealership in Stockton. Bason was in possession of the car when the murder was committed.
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A search warrant served at Bason’s home yielded several firearms, one of which investigators determined was used to kill Xu. The warrant said Chia agreed to give Bason “a significant amount of money” for killing her.
According to the warrant, Chia and Bason communicated by cell phone dating back to July 2022 — a month before the murder. “Further communications after the murder between Chia and Bason demonstrate that Chia conspired with Bason to murder Xu for financial gain,” the warrant read. It accused them of planning the day, time and place of the murder, with Bason acquiring a vehicle, recruiting a driver and killing Xu.