On March 23, 2012, five members of the Lei family were murdered in a savage attack where they were beaten with a hammer, stabbed and choked to death. The killer then poured bleach over the bodies and flooded the house by turning on faucets and detaching pipes under sinks to hide his identity.
Vietnamese citizen Binh Thai Luc, shown below, was arrested a couple days later.
The case is of interest for important policy reasons: Luc was convicted for armed robbery in 1998 but was not deported for his earlier crimes because Vietnam refused to take him back. Unfortunately the problem remains to this day because Washington is not willing to lean hard enough on those nations that will not receive their citizens. The Trump administration has taken steps, but it hasn’t really been the big stomp that’s needed — see 4 countries sanctioned because of refusal to accept deported immigrants, Washington Times, August 23, 2017.
In 2011, Representative Ted Poe submitted a bill that would deny diplomatic visas to nations that won’t receive their criminal aliens. At that time, ICE admitted it had freed more than 8,500 detainees convicted of murder, rape, and other crimes over four years.
The congressman’s strategy might work, because diplomats apparently like getting out of their dirtbag countries to enjoy the decent restaurants and other pleasantries of the first world.
Poe continued to pursue his proposed solution in the House, noting in 2015, “We give convicted foreign criminals a get-out-of-jail-free card to live in the United States because we cannot permanently detain them and their countries of origin refuse to take them back. This is a dangerous and deadly Achilles heel in our immigration system.”
I was therefore sorry to see Ted Poe’s announcement of his retirement last month, because the former judge’s tough line on deporting illegal alien criminals will be missed as long as America is filled with foreign felons.
Back to today’s case, it was a relief to see a Guilty verdict come from a San Francisco jury, although it took long enough.
Plumber found guilty in slaughter of San Francisco family, San Francisco Chronicle, December 11, 2017
A 41-year-old San Francisco plumber who was on a losing streak at local casinos and faced eviction for not paying his rent was found guilty Monday of slaughtering a family of five inside their Ingleside neighborhood home after targeting them for robbery.
On its seventh day of deliberations, the San Francisco Superior Court jury found Binh Thai Luc, an undocumented Vietnamese immigrant with a violent criminal past, guilty of five counts of murder in the massacre of the Lei family on March 23, 2012.
The victims’ bludgeoned bodies were found covered in blood and household cleaning products in various rooms of the row house on Howth Street, which had been flooded with water. The damage was so severe and the scene so chaotic that investigators didn’t initially know if they were dealing with a quintuple murder or a murder-suicide.
Prosecutors said Luc used a hammer to commit one of the worst mass homicides in modern San Francisco history, though the weapon was never found. The defendant was also found guilty of five counts of attempted robbery and two counts of burglary.
Because Luc was convicted of murder with special circumstances — in this case, lying in wait and committing multiple killings — he faces life in prison without the possibility of parole. The charges made him eligible for the death penalty, but the district attorney’s office did not pursue that punishment. Judge Carol Yaggy will set a sentencing date Tuesday.
“This was a very gruesome, brutal murder, and we’re pleased we’re getting some accountability for the family and for the community,” District Attorney George Gascón said.