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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Binh Thai Luc Pleads Not Guilty to All Charges of Murdering Ingleside Family

Posted By on Thu, Apr 5, 2012 at 12:30 PM

click to enlarge Binh Thai Luc
  • Binh Thai Luc

Binh Thai Luc, the suspect accused of killing five people at an Ingleside home on March 23 appeared in court today where he pleaded not guilty to all charges. 


Wearing an orange sweatshirt and orange pants, with a chain belt cuffing his hands at his waist, Luc, 35, slowly shook his head as Judge Samuel K. Feng ticked off a long list of offenses, including five counts of murder as well as five counts of robbery, one count of burglary, and special circumstances counts for committing multiple murders and lying in wait for one of the victims.

The list was so long that around 15 minutes into the proceedings, Luc's lawyer, Mark Goldrosen, asked  for his client to be able to plead not guilty to the rest of the charges all at once.

The judge accepted prosecutors' request to set Luc's bail at $25 million.

While Feng expressed that he was "not comfortable" with a bail being set, holding a suspect without bail requires prosecutors to present enough evidence to convince the judge that the suspect is "likely" guilty. Prosecutor Sharon Woo said that they weren't ready to do that at this stage of the investigation.

Luc, whom police arrested two days after the homicides, also faces an immigration hold, as a judge ordered him to be deported to his native Vietnam in 2006 after he served eight years in San Quentin for robbing a Chinese restaurant in Santa Clara (Vietnam refused to take him back, so he has remained in a sort of immigration limbo since then). This means that if he were to make bail, he would then be transferred to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody.

Luc appeared shaken throughout the hearing. Goldrosen at one point patted him on the back and asked, "Are you okay?" after Luc wiped his face and shifted his weight back and forth for a few seconds. After the hearing, Goldrosen told reporters that the "massive amount of charges" his client is facing has been "a very emotional thing" for Luc.

"It is a very difficult thing to stand up there for that long and listen to all the charges," Goldrosen added. He also noted that Luc worked in construction and was a member of a plumber's union.

While police have not confirmed a motive for the mass killing, they have described the crime scene at 16 Howth St. as especially violent and bloody. Investigators have said the murder weapon was possibly a "machete-like knife."

The San Francisco coroner identified the victims as: Hua Shun Lei, 65; his wife, Wan Yi Xu, 62; their children Vincent Lei, 32, and Ying Xue Lei, 37; and a third female, Chia Huei Chu, 30.

Prosecutors have not yet decided whether to seek the death penalty.

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