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Man accused of slaying five in S.F. home to appear in court

April 5, 2012 |  9:36 am

Binh Thai LucA man accused of killing five people in a San Francisco home is scheduled to appear in court Thursday to face murder charges.

Binh Thai Luc, 35, was arrested March 25 in connection with the slayings. Prosecutors say the San Francisco man was targeting a specific family member but killed five, all with a blunt instrument, then robbed the victims and burglarized the residence before fleeing.

Luc is being charged with five counts of murder with special circumstances and could face the death penalty, the San Francisco district attorney's office said, though prosecutors have not announced what  punishment will be sought. Luc appeared in court last week but did not enter a plea.  

A day after Luc’s arrest, officials revealed that he had been taken into U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody in August 2006 after he completed an eight-year prison sentence for assault and attempted robbery.

Authorities say he was ordered removed from the country by an immigration judge a month later. But Vietnamese authorities refused to provide appropriate travel documents and Luc could not be repatriated. He was released in December 2006.

The agency cited Supreme Court rulings and precedent in justifying its release of Luc. In a statement, ICE said the continued detention of an immigrant becomes unlawful after six months, when "no significant likelihood of removal exists in the reasonably foreseeable future."

"There are a number of countries where we encounter problems obtaining travel documents, and Vietnam is one of them," agency spokeswoman Virginia Kice said. "This is not unusual."

Kice added that Luc was on a reporting schedule to the ICE office in San Francisco as required after his release from custody. She said he was complying with requirements and had no other incidents or arrests.

The San Francisco medical examiner identified the victims as: Hua Shun Lei, 65; Vincent Lei, 32; Ying Xue Lei, 37; Wan Yi Xu, 62; and Chia Huei Chu, 30, all of San Francisco. Four were family members and one was a family member’s girlfriend.

Luc’s brother, Brian Luc, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges of possession of narcotics for sale and being a felon in possession of ammunition. Brian Luc is currently on probation for a recent firearm and DUI conviction.  His preliminary hearing is set for April 16.  


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-- Matt Stevens


Photo: Binh Thai Luc. Credit: San Francisco Police Department