Anoka County prosecutors have dropped a murder charge filed against a Columbus woman in the shooting death of a Vadnais Heights man whom she acknowledged flirting with online.
The Anoka County attorney’s office dismissed a second-degree intentional murder charge against Nou Zong Lee, 35, on Tuesday.
Authorities say the investigation is ongoing.
Doua Yang, 40, was found shot to death next to his car in the middle of a cul-de-sac the evening of April 1, 2013. He was found with $700 cash in his wallet. Anoka County detectives searched the victim’s Facebook account and discovered he’d been exchanging messages with Nou Zong Lee, who lived 2.7 miles from the crime scene.
Nou Zong Lee denied ever meeting Doua Yang in person, describing their online communications as only flirtations, according to court records. Detectives also interviewed her husband and the couple’s 17-year-old daughter.
“The case was dismissed based on the evidence. We did not have a good-faith basis to believe we could prove the charge beyond a reasonable doubt,” Assistant Anoka County Attorney Paul Young said. “The investigation is still open and active.”
Young declined to elaborate on what prompted the dismissal. “We are always analyzing our case,” he said. “We have an ethical obligation to continue that analysis through the course of that case. We clearly understand the impact of this on the victim’s family,” he said.
“They didn’t have any evidence,” said defense attorney Paul Rogosheske, who represented Nou Zong Lee.
“She is very glad it’s over. They both lost their jobs. Nobody would hire them. It was very difficult for them.”
Nou Zong Lee and her husband both worked in IT.
Rogosheske said their daughter would have been a crucial defense witness in the case. She would have testified she was home with her parents the night of the killing, Rogosheske said.
Rogosheske said his client never met the victim in person.
The victim’s family could not be reached for comment.