Alleged Lili Xu murder-for-hire gunman Hasheem Bason pleads not guilty

OAKLAND — Hasheem Bason, a Stockton man who allegedly was hired to slay Oakland dentist Lili Xu, has pleaded not guilty to a laundry list of charges including three that could led to imprisonment for life without parole.

Xu was killed in a brazen daylight Oakland Saigon neighborhood shooting as she exited her car on August 21st. The slaying triggered a wave of outrage from neighborhood residents and Oakland police increased patrols in the area.

The murder was captured on surveillance video. In the warrant, investigators gave a chilling description of what happened. Nelson Chia, Xu’s partner, was driving the vehicle when it pulled up to park in the 1000 block of 5th Ave.

“The surveillance footage showed a white Lexus sedan parked on the side of the street several minutes before the murder,” investigators said. “Xu and Chia arrive in Xu’s vehicle driven by Chia and park on the curb. Moments later the white Lexus sedan pulled away from its parked spot less than a block behind and pulled up next to Xu’s parked vehicle.”

“The front passenger of the Lexus exited, walked around the rear of Xu’s vehicle touching the trunk area with his hand, and confronted her as she exited the front right passenger seat of her car. A struggle ensued, the suspect shot Xu, and fled back to the front right passenger seat of the Lexus as it sped away. Chia observed the entire incident.”

Xu was transported to the hospital and died from her gunshot wounds.

As the investigation unfolded, Chia was identified as a suspect. Xu had $12-$14 million worth of property and assets from life insurance policies, trusts, LLCs, real property and accounts.

With her death, Chia took control of the estate. Investigators identified the license plate number of the Lexus used by the gunman from the surveillance video. The Lexus was then tracked to a dealership in Stockton and investigators learned that Bason was in possession of the vehicle at the time of the murder.

“Cell phone records uncovered communications between Nelson Chia and Hasheem Bason starting in July of 2022 to present,” investigators said in the warrant. “Further communications after the murder between Chia and Bason demonstrate that Chia conspired with Bason to murder Xu for financial gain.”

Both men were taken into custody, but within hours, Chia had committed suicide in his cell at Santa Rita jail.

Bason was identified as the suspected shooter from DNA off a bullet cartridge and from the trunk of Xu’s car. He allegedly held onto the murder weapon, and it was seized during a raid on his Stockton home. 

He is charged among other crimes with the special circumstances of killing for financial gain, slaying while lying in wait and use of a firearm. Any of the three carry with them a death sentence or life without parole.

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