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Jun Di Lin, right, and Sifa Lee listen to an interpreter in Newburyport District Court, where they were arraigned on murder charges in the death of Majestic Dragon owner Shui Keung "Tony" Woo.

IPSWICH — The grim details of Shui Keung "Tony" Woo's final moments of life emerged for the first time in court yesterday during the arraignments of two of the three men who prosecutors say are responsible for his death.

Woo, 62, the owner of the Majestic Dragon Chinese restaurant in Ipswich, was bludgeoned and stabbed on Sept. 27, an Essex County prosecutor said yesterday. He was found inside the restaurant with both his legs and arms tied up and a ligature around his neck, where investigators found injuries to his throat and larynx.

Jun D. Lin, 29, of Malden and Sifa Lee, 34, of Quincy are now facing first-degree murder charges in Woo's death. Prosecutors are in the process of extraditing a third suspect, Cheng Sun, 46, of New York.

A judge entered not-guilty pleas automatically on behalf of Lin and Lee yesterday and ordered them held without bail.

The trio, who arrived at the Ipswich restaurant in a taxicab from Quincy in the middle of the night, apparently tried to get into the restaurant's safe, without success, prosecutor Kristen Buxton told Newburyport District Court Judge Allen Swan.

That's as close as prosecutors will come, however, to offering a motive for the homicide, the first in town since 1975.

Buxton, in court, described Woo as a beloved member of both his family and the community.

Buxton said an investigation, which included close examination of surveillance video at various locations, revealed that the phone and alarm lines to the restaurant were cut at 3:15 a.m. on the 27th.

Investigators from the Ipswich police and state police assigned to the district attorney's office believe that the three then left and made a trip down and back up Route 1, before returning sometime before 4 a.m. They entered through a vent on the roof.

Shortly after that, a truck driver for United Pipe, an adjacent business, noticed an empty taxicab in the parking lot.

Hours later, shortly after 11 a.m., employees arriving for work found Woo's body in his office.

The truck driver was able to provide police with a description of the cab, and police were able to link it to Lin.

Investigators traced the cab's path prior to the killing from the Foxwoods casino in Connecticut to Quincy. From there, all three men traveled north to Ipswich.

After the killing, the three went back to Foxwoods, Buxton said. Both Sun and Lee had visible injuries, investigators learned. They also went to the Mohegan Sun casino. At some point, Lin's credit card was used to obtain a $1,000 cash advance, which was used to purchase new clothing and other items, Buxton told the judge.

He also used the same card to stay briefly at a New York City hotel, the prosecutor said.

When Lin was arrested attempting to cross the Canadian border, in a different cab, on Oct. 11, he had $4,500 in cash on him, Buxton said. She did not say whether investigators know the source of that money.

Lee was arrested a week later in New Jersey, and Sun was found in New York.

Nearly a month after the incident, Sun still had visible marks, which police believe came from a struggle, the prosecutor noted.

Buxton said Lin is a naturalized United States citizen who has been in the country since 2000; Lee is a legal resident who came to the United States in 1998. Lee, at the time of his arrest, was also wanted on a warrant in Brockton in connection with a larceny from a building.

Lee's attorney, Lawrence McGuire, asked a court psychologist to evaluate Lee yesterday after being told he was hearing voices. Based on that evaluation, Lee will be sent to Bridgewater State Hospital for a 20-day competency evaluation, the judge ordered.

McGuire had sought to postpone Lee's arraignment until the completion of that evaluation, but Swan denied the request. After Buxton said she does not anticipate that she will be relying on any eyewitness testimony at this point, Swan also denied a request that the men be allowed to shield their faces from cameras that were present in the courtroom.

Both men are being held without bail.

The arraignment drew members of both Woo's family and the family of Lin, who declined comment outside court.

A contingent of Ipswich police officers, as well as state police investigators, were in court, as were District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett and members of his senior staff.

The arraignment also drew some local residents who knew Woo.

A probable cause hearing is scheduled for Nov. 17.

Court documents in the case, including the complaint application and supporting police reports and affidavits, remained under seal and will likely remain impounded at least until the case is presented to a grand jury for indictment, prosecutors said.

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