NEW YORK - A man accused of hacking his cousin's wife and four children to death with a cleaver inside their Brooklyn home was formally charged with murder on Monday.
Ming Dong Chen, 25, who does not speak English, is a cousin of the children's father, who was not home at the time of the killings.
He was accompanied by a Mandarin Chinese interpreter as he was charged in Brooklyn Criminal Court with killing two boys, two girls and their mother on Saturday night.
Three of the children were dead when police arrived at the house in the Sunset Park section, and the mother and fourth child were pronounced dead at local hospitals.
Chen, who was found spattered with blood at the house, was taken into custody by police.
The victims were identified as one-year-old William Zhuo; Kevin Zhuo, 5; Amy Zhuo, 7; Linda Zhuo, 9; and Qiao Zhen Li, 37.
Police said the children's mother had made frantic telephone calls to relatives before the stabbings.
Local media cited family members and neighbors as saying that Chen had been homeless, recently lost his job at a restaurant and was bitterly envious of his relatives' more stable lives.
"He felt they had everything and that he had nothing," a police source was quoted as telling the New York Daily News. "They were doing well and he was struggling just to get by."
Chen faces five counts of murder and one charge of assaulting a police officer at a police station after his arrest, police said.
Criminal Court Judge Jane Tully scheduled the next court date for November 1.