A thug-for-hire who put 200 stitches in the face of a Chinese exchange student is finally facing justice. The New York Post reports that 38-year-old Devon Berkley of Allentown, Pennsylvania was hired by Wilson Lai, 25, to slash the face of a 14-year-old girl Lai was allegedly having a sexual relationship with. But, in a case of mistaken identity, he slashed the face of another girl who lived in the same building as his underage paramour. Berkley was extradited to New York and arraigned Wednesday on charges related to the attack, which occurred on December 16, 2015, in Whitestone, Queens.
Upset that his relationship with the girl had ended, Lai recruited Berkley to take revenge upon her. On the morning of the attack, a masked Berkley staked out her home, armed with a boxcutter. Upon seeing a young woman leave the building, he ran up to her and slashed her twice on the face and throat. However, the victim was not the intended target, but a 16-year-old exchange student from China who was staying in the same house. Less than a month later, Lai and two others returned to vandalize a car belonging to the girl’s family. According to ABC News, they left a note on the windshield stating that the wrong girl was attacked and that the intended target was next.
Previously, Berkley was being held in jail in Pennsylvania, where he was arrested in May, 2016. A search of his home at the time of arrest turned up five handguns, "several pounds of marijuana," $4,700 in cash, and other drug paraphernalia, according to Eastern Pennsylvania’s WFMZ-TV. He was charged with five counts of prohibited possession of a firearm and single counts of possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.
In Queens Supreme Court Wednesday, Berkley was arraigned on charges of first- and second-degree assault, fourth-degree conspiracy, endangering the welfare of a child and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon for the attack. His co-conspirator Lai faces the same charges, along with second- and third-degree rape, second and third-degree criminal sexual act, third-degree criminal mischief, second-degree aggravated mischief and second-degree harassment. Lai has been housed at the Brooklyn Detention Complex since his arrest and faces up to 32 years in prison if convicted. Berkley is being held without bail and is due back in court in early June.
[Photo: NBC News]
Crime Time is your destination for true crime stories from around the world, breaking crime news, and information about Oxgen's original true crime shows and documentaries. Sign up for our Crime Time Newsletter and subscribe to our true crime podcast Martinis & Murder for all the best true crime content.