It’s been more than two months since a jury found Binh Luc guilty in the brutal 2012 killing of a family near City College. The gory crime scene was a mess — bleach, paint, and shampoo covered the bodies, which were scattered throughout the two-story home on Howth Street, and the pipes had been expertly disassembled to induce flooding, possibly to destroy any material that could identify the killer.
But Luc was sloppy, and the evidence against him accrued, convincing the jury over a colorful, two-month trial that he was guilty. Blood from victim Vincent Lei was found on jeans at Luc’s house and in his car. He’d left fingerprints on a Windex bottle at the scene of the crime. And Luc was a skilled plumber, making the attempt to cover up the crime with broken pipes easily attributable to him.
On Thursday morning, Judge Carol Yaggy handed out her verdict for the homicides: five consecutive life sentences, without the possibility of parole.
“Your actions on that horrific night were calculated, vicious, and unusually cruel,” Yaggy told Luc directly. “When you attack individuals you victimize an entire community. Finally, after six heartbreaking years, this part of the heartbreak is over.”
Nicole Lei, whose mother Wan Yi Xu, father Hua Shun Lei, brother Vincent Lei, sister-in-law Chia Huei Chu and sister Ying Xue “Jess” Lei were all victims of the crime, was not present in court for the sentencing. But prosecutor David Merin read a victim statement she wrote.
“The pain is still in my heart and it follows me for the rest of my life,” Lei stated, noting that the stress of the incident has caused her eyesight to get worse.
“There are sunny days for me even though I lost my loved ones,” she said but asked that the court provide her children and husband privacy moving forward.
As is fairly standard in these cases, an appeal will be filed on Luc’s behalf at a later date. But District Attorney George Gascon feels confident it will not be upheld.
“We feel very confident,” he said. This case was prosecuted very thoughtfully … and we believe this was the appropriate sentence.”