Exclusive: How police linked suspect to crime scene

March 28, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
ABC7 News has exclusive information on how police traced the man accused of killing five people inside a San Francisco home to the grisly crime scene.

Police were able to quickly identify and arrest their suspect. Sources say, among other leads, one thing that led police to Binh Thai Luc was that they found his number on the cellphone of one of the victims.

The bloody carnage happened in the middle of the night sometime before 7:45 a.m. Friday when the five bodies were found in a home on Howth Street in the Ingleside District.

The victims were Hua Shun Lei, a cook at the popular Chinese restaurant R&G Lounge, his wife Wan Yi Wu, their daughter Ying Xue Lei, their son Vincent Lei and his girlfriend Chia Huei Chu.

On Sunday, San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr announced that police had made an arrest. SWAT team members raided a townhouse on Hayes Street and took 35-year-old Luc into custody. Luc's brother and roommate Brian was also arrested on unrelated drug charges and for probation violation. Investigators tell ABC7 there is no evidence linking the brother or anyone else with the murders.

Police sources tell us Luc may have known Vincent Lei since they both worked in construction. That would explain how the accused killer was allowed into the house.

Those same sources say the five victims were not tied up and that they were killed in four areas of the two story house: one in the entryway, two in the garage and the others in two different rooms.

Police believe the killer bludgeoned his victims to death one by one. Some of the victims may have been sleeping. Our source speculates that the others probably did not know what was happening since they were in different parts of the house. After it was all over, the killer poured bleach, water and paint all over the scene to damage evidence.

Police identified Luc through what Suhr says was "good police work and good luck."

Police found the suspect's number on the cellphone of victim Chia Heui Chu, Vincent Lei's girlfriend. That was an important lead.

Everyone is awaiting the coroner's report. It should answer a lot of questions.

As to motive, one source believes its gambling debts, but investigators are still trying to piece that together.

Wednesday, a potential conflict of interest delayed Luc's arraignment. The public defender's office previously represented Luc's brother Brian, who will now be called as a prosecution witness.

Although he was arrested on charges that had nothing to do with the murders in Ingleside, Brian Luc appeared in court Wednesday with his brother. The district attorney wants to call Brian as a witness against his brother Binh.

Binh Luc is facing five counts of murder with special circumstances, including robbery, burglary and for one of the victims, lying in wait. The special circumstances make this a death-penalty eligible case.

"We're going to treat this case as a death penalty case, if we are appointed," Public Defender Jeff Adachi said. "Again, my understanding from the district attorney is that they're going to have a review of the case shortly and they'll make a determination as to whether or not it is a death penalty case."

Adachi's office will file papers Thursday morning explaining why they think they should be allowed to represent Luc.

Luc did request a Cantonese interpreter in court Wednesday, but also addressed the judge in English. He said he wants to be represented by the public defender's office; he feels it's in his best interest.


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