Man Arrested For Killing Girlfriend In Murder-For-Hire Scheme Dies By Suicide

Law enforcement sources confirmed that Nelson Chia died by suicide on Friday afternoon. He was one of the suspects arrested in a murder-for-hire.

Nelson Chia, 73, of Oakland, hung himself in prison and was found motionless and unresponsive at Santa Rita Jail after taking his own life. There are no indications of foul play or any other suspicious activities surrounding his death.

Detectives were dispatched to the jail and started an investigation into Chia’s death, which came amid a series of recent violent incidents against members of the AAPI community in Oakland.

The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office said Chia took his own life in a single-person holding cell while awaiting further processing for a murder-for-hire scheme that ended the life of his girlfriend, Dr. Lily Xu.

In August, Xu was shot and killed after an unknown individual exited a white Lexus and fired multiple rounds at her. Police arrested two suspects in the august Oakland slaying of Lili Xu. Her murder was captured on surveillance video.

Investigators have not released specific details on a motive, aside from saying the killing was driven by financial gain.

OPD said they worked tirelessly and diligently on the case over the last two months, and uncovered evidence supporting the arrest of Chia and his accomplice, Hasheem Bason, in this heinous crime.

Chia’s arrest did not surprise many of Dr. Xu’s friends, who had suspicions after seeing the surveillance footage. Xu and Chia had lived together in Oakland for more than a decade and ran dental practices in Chinatown and Castro Valley.

With Chia now dead, 35-year-old suspect Hasheem Bason is now the only suspect that can be charged for the murder of Dr. Lily Xu.


John Nightbridge is a veteran reporter, researcher, and economic policy major from UCLA. Passionate about world issues and potential ways to solve them is a significant focus of his work. Writing freelance and reading the news are John's passions at work. Outside of work, it's all about sky diving, surfing, and stock market modeling.