BY LYNN EDMONDS
The man who allegedly slashed a 16 year-old girl’s face in Whitestone last December was caught, the Queens District Attorney’s office announced last Thursday.
A grand jury indicted the alleged slasher, Devon Berkley, 36, as well as a second man, Wilson Lai, 25 – who allegedly orchestrated the attack.
According to the DA Richard Brown’s office, Lai had enlisted Berkley to assault another young girl, whom Lai had a sexual relationship with, on his behalf.
But Berkley allegedly mistook Jia-Jia, who was walking to school around 8:30 a.m. on Dec. 16, with the intended victim. He slashed two gashes on her face and throat that required over 200 stitches and created a permanent scar.
“An innocent victim who was merely walking to school was slashed in the face by one of the defendants without warning or provocation,” the DA said. “For the rest of her life she must bear the physical and emotional scars of that attack.”
JiaJia is a foreign exchange student from China attending a high school in Whitestone. She lived in the same house with the intended victim.
Lai and two co-conspirators, who have yet to be indicted, allegedly trashed a car belonging to the intended victim’s family on Jan. 4. They left a note on the windshield saying that the wrong girl was attacked and the intended target was next.
The intended victim, according to the charges, had been in a relationship with Lai for one year, starting in June 2013, when she was 14 years old.
Lai is charged with second and third degree rape, second and third degree criminal sexual act, endangering the welfare of a child, third degree criminal mischief, second degree aggravated mischief and second degree harassment.
Both Lai and Berkley are charged with first and second degree assault, fourth-degree conspiracy, endangering the welfare of a child and fourth degree criminal possession of a weapon.
Detective Wing Har of the 109th Precinct conducted the investigation alongside the Homicide Squad and the District Attorney’s office.
“These arrests are an important step in the healing process for the young woman who was so brutally attacked, and we can all feel a little bit safer now that these hoodlums are behind bars,” Councilman Peter Koo (D-Flushing) said in reaction to the arrests.
Reach Reporter Lynn Edmonds at 718-357-7400 x127, email@example.com or @ellinoamerikana