Oklahoma prosecutors formally charged a man with four counts of first-degree murder on Friday, about two weeks after he allegedly killed four workers at a marijuana farm and fled the state.
Chen Wu, 45, was arrested in Florida on Nov. 22 after a car tag reader flagged his vehicle.
Prosecutors wrote in court filings that Wu went to the pot farm, located about 55 miles northwest of Oklahoma City, and demanded hundreds of thousands of dollars that he had invested in the operation.
“Eyewitnesses to the murders have stated that [Wu] demanded $300,000 be handed over to him by other employees of the marijuana operation, as a return of a portion of his ‘investment’ in the enterprise,” Assistant District Attorney Austin Murrey wrote in court filings. “The fact that it could not be handed over on a moment’s notice is what precipitated the mass murder.”
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Four Chinese nationals were killed in the shooting and a fifth person was wounded.
Medical marijuana was legalized in Oklahoma in 2018. At least 75% of each operation must be owned by an Oklahoma resident, but the application for a license at the farm where the quadruple homicide took place was fraudulently obtained, according to KFOR.
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Prosecutors filed a motion for Wu to be held without bond. An attorney for Wu was not listed in court records.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.