SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) A San Francisco Superior Court jury today found Binh Thai Luc guilty of murder for the grisly slayings of five people in a home in the city's Ingleside District in 2012.
The jury announced its verdict late this morning after starting deliberations on Nov. 29. Luc was convicted of five counts of first-degree murder as well as attempted robbery and burglary charges. He was acquitted of robbery charges.
Prosecutors accused Luc, 41, of fatally beating, stabbing and choking three women and two men, all family members, at a home at 16 Howth St. near City College of San Francisco on March 12, 2012.
Those killed were identified as Vincent Lei, 32, Lei's father and mother, Hua Shun Lei, 65 and Wan Yi Xu, 62, his wife, Chia Huei (Yo Yo) Chu, 30, and his sister, Ying Xue Lei, 37.
Prosecutor Eric Fleming said Luc's DNA, blood and fingerprints were found in the house. The defendant's blood was found in three spots in Yo-Yo's office. His bloody fingerprint was on a Windex bottle.
Vincent and Wan Yi Xu's blood were found on Luc's jeans and in his car. Investigators say Luc tried to contaminate the crime scene at the house by dousing it with bleach, paint, shampoo and water.
"This was a very gruesome brutal murder and we're pleased that we're getting some accountability for the family and the community," said San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon.
Luc, a Vietnamese citizen who works as a plumber and went by the nickname "Ping," was a longtime friend of Vincent Lei.
During the seven-week trial, Fleming suggested the murders could have been motivated by robbery, and presented evidence that Luc had lost money gambling and needed money to pay rent after receiving an eviction notice.
Prosecutors said Luc was a chronic gambler who headed to the Lei home to steal nearly $7,000 in cash from them. He had lost thousands at a San Bruno casino earlier that night.
The defense admitted that Luc was at the Lei home that night, but not to kill anyone, only to "clean up" the crime scene.
"There were four fingerprints that were located in the house that did not match Luc or any of the decedents- so one of the points we raised was whose fingerprints were those?" asked Defense attorney Mark Goldrosen.
Goldrosen said that the evidence showed Luc had been present in the house at some point, but did not prove either robbery or homicide.
"I'm disappointed and I was hoping for a much better verdict. I applaud the jury for doing the job that they did," said Goldrosen.
He suggested that the murders might have been carried out by gangland-style enforcers instead, and argued that more than one person may have been involved.
Goldrosen said he will appeal the murder conviction.
Meanwhile, Luc faces life without the possibility of parole since he was found guilty on two separate grounds for special circumstance, lying in wait and committing multiple murder.
Judge Carol Yaggy will set a date for Luc's sentencing tomorrow