Late boyfriend accused of Oakland murder-for-hire sang at victim's memorial

Nelson Chia is seen on YouTube video singing at the memorial for his girlfriend Lili Xu, the Oakland dentist who was shot and killed back in August in the city's Little Saigon neighborhood.

For months, he appeared at least outwardly to be the grieving boyfriend, heartbroken over his loss. 

But last week, he was arrested by Oakland police, accused of plotting a murder-for-hire so that he could take control of Xu's financial assets and live off of her estate for the rest of her life.

Hours after being taken into custody, he hanged himself at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin, according to the Alameda County sheriff's office.

"He always seemed like a pretty nice guy, pretty stand-up guy. It's hard to believe," said Ed Gonzalves, 74, of Hayward, who met Chia when they were in the second grade.

"I'm shocked at this scenario, you know of hiring somebody, just that kind of life, and I'm saddened by his suicide," Gonzalves said.

Authorities say Xu's estate was worth up to $14 million dollars, including trusts, property and life-insurance policies and that Chia, a retired investment advisor, took control of many of her accounts after she died.

Oakland police say Chia agreed to pay Hasheem Bason, 33, a "significant amount of money for murdering Xu."

Investigators say they obtained "communications" between Chia and Bason beginning in July, a month before the slaying, and continuing afterward.

Bason has now been charged with murder with special circumstances of financial gain and lying in wait. He appeared in court Tuesday but did not enter a plea. He's being held without bail.

Surveillance video shows a white Lexus parked a short distance away before it pulls up alongside the couple’s Mercedes outside a spa at East 11th Street and 5th Avenue.

Police say Bason got out of the Lexus, ignored Chia and went around the Mercedes to shoot and kill Xu.

Cindy Zheng, who knew the couple, says she was immediately suspicious of Chia.

"There are a lot of things that we couldn't understand why he was doing that? The conclusion is that me might have a huge financial interest," Zheng said.

Video posted to YouTube video shows Bason participating in an "Occupy the Farm" protest in Albany in 2013.

"You can’t help but to fall in line with it, you know? Like we’re going to do a community garden for free," Bason says on the video.

Bason also says, "We gotta think about the generation after that you know. We’re kind of still fighting an uphill battle for next generation."

Oakland police said Chia stood to immediately get $1 million after Xu was killed.