The man charged with killing five adults in a home near City College of San Francisco last week was set to be deported to Vietnam in 2006 due to a robbery conviction, but immigration officials say a paperwork snag kept that from happening.
Binh Thai Luc, 35, of San Francisco is being held on five counts of murder after three women and two men were found dead Friday. However, federal authorities said Monday that if it had been up to them, Luc would have been deported about six years ago.
In 1996, he was arrested and later sentenced to 11 years in San Quentin State Prison after pleading no contest to assault with a firearm and attempted armed robbery, said Gillian Christensen, a spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
After completion of his sentence, ICE took custody of Luc and immigration judge ordered him to be removed from the country. However, Vietnamese authorities delayed providing the proper travel documents.
“Luc ultimately had to be released due to the Supreme Court’s ruling in Zadvydas v. Davis,” Christensen said. That ruling requires ICE to release detainees after 180 days if it appears the deportation cannot occur in the foreseeable future.
Luc was released Dec. 14, 2006, and has “continued to report to the ICE office in San Francisco,” Christensen said. He had had no other arrests since 2006 until Sunday, she added.
“ICE has lodged a detainer on Luc following his arrest this weekend,” Christensen said.
Luc apparently knew his victims, two men and three women, Police Chief Greg Suhr said Sunday. The chief also noted that Luc might have had gang ties.
The men were identified by the Medical Examiner’s Office on Monday as Hua Shun Lei, 65, and Vincent Lei, 32. The women were Wan Yi Xu, 62; Chia Huei Chu, 30; and Ying Xue Lei, 37.
Police said the victims, at least four of them members of the same family, suffered from “blunt trauma,” adding that an edged weapon capable of cutting might have been used.
Luc was arrested about 9 a.m. Sunday along with his brother, Brian Luc, who was held on unrelated drug charges, police Chief Greg Suhr said. Luc and his brother live together in The City, police said.
It is unknown if there are additional suspects, but Suhr said the slayings appeared isolated and the community is not believed to be in danger.
Police have declined to provide a possible motive for the killings.
The District Attorney’s Office said Monday it expects to review the case and make a decision on whether to file charges Tuesday.
Bay City News contributed to this report.